I was visiting my folks this week my dad has had some health issues lately and is in a tippy spot of limbo waiting to get an appointment at the UC Davis Cancer Center. The not knowing is hard and knowing is hard and limbo is hard. I went up to add a bit of cheer and to change the flow of their days a bit (I only fell into a baby of the family rant once when the back seat driving was getting overwhelming). My cousin was visiting too so there was some good distraction and lots of chitchat. I of course could offer my dear dad no wisdom. I did offer a stale “one day at a time” mantra which is all well and good in theory but when one is standing on a tightrope in the wind holding a big umbrella.. well it’s not so easy to do. So on my long drive home I had a while to ponder what could I do? Truth be told there’s not much to do but be present, to listen, to be real, to be true. And so I thought perhaps the “one day at a time” mantra isn’t so trite but I think it needs to be fleshed out a bit to be useful. About a month ago a friend of mine took a facebook challenge to list 3 good things each day for 5 days and to tag five people to do the same. She tagged me. I thought it was a fine idea but I didn’t have time. What no time to notice 3 good things!? I put the idea in my notebook to use someday but didn’t actually list 3 things when I wrote the idea down… I know what you’re thinking, “what does this have to do with her dad?” and “what about the one day at a time thing?”. Well on that car ride home I started thinking again about the 3 things and about today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow. I think when we are young we don’t think about mortality at all it doesn’t factor into our thoughts. As we grow older we push it aside and figure we’ll think about it later but the truth is there are not guarantees….we don’t get an expiration date stamped on our wrists when we’re born, I’ve had lot’s of friends die before their time. But that’s just it we don’t have a time – it just is, for all of us. So taking today- today, marking the wonders of today now does seem like a wise way to live, and not just when we are standing on a tight rope in the wind with an umbrella in our hands but also when our feet are planted firmly on the ground the sun on our faces the breeze at our backs. So here I go with my expanded version of 3 fine things about today:
- What I learned today: I learned that my Daddy’s hug as I left him today was as strong and comforting today as when I was a child and as strong and comforting as the day I left for college 30 years ago, the same as on my wedding day 20 years ago, and the same as at the funeral of a close friend 11 years ago, I learned today is today and today is good.
- What did I see that surprised me today: I saw a bright butterfly shaped kite with it’s string tangled in a tree but flying gaily just the same waving brightly at the traffic rushing by. That kite wasn’t worrying about tomorrow because today it was flying and today is good.
- What made me smile today: My little dog Lucky made me smile today as I returned home- her tail wagging fiercely to greet me as she leaned strategically off the edge of the couch to give me a kiss. Lucky is always in today –tomorrow has no meaning, today is today and today is goood.
So here it is – today is today, today is good – tomorrow is tomorrow – that’s all it’s ever been and that’s all it will ever be.