This Day Will Never Come Again
This day will never come again…Thomas Merton
I was stopped in my tracks today during spiritual study. I have been working with the teachings of Caroline Myss and her book Entering the Castle which is based upon her interpretation of “The Interior Castle” by Teresa of Avila; Spanish Mystic and Roman Catholic Saint. Myss is a contemporary author, a medical intuitive and mystic. #carolinemyss, #teresaofavila
She shared a story of her encounter with the journal entry of Thomas Merton (a 20th century Trappist Monk) musing on the idea that “This day will never come again”. Like Myss, I recognized the profound truth in that simple statement and felt my cells shift as I contemplated: I will never be as I am right now. This breath is like no other, this thought, this feeling, this state. I will never exactly repeat it. In that moment, it brought me comfort as I was feeling sad and worried about how long sadness might permeate my experience. I immediately felt empowered, the sadness lifted. I realized I could feel sadness and still see the blessing in my life right now. I was reminded of the many times a previous partner would say to me: “We have the rest of our lives to “ “ and I would reply with: “What if we don’t? What if I am not here tomorrow? or I die on my way home from work?” I am especially impacted by the lost opportunity to love in the moment, to say what I may have said if I had been more immediately present or to refrain from reaction stemming from wounded places. This is the healing I seek. I seek to act as if my choices matter, as if my thoughts and feelings are prayers that are heard and answered by an omnipotent God. I long to feel Truth aligning my being and to know that my contribution has healed more than it has injured.
I don’t trust myself to live an entire day utterly aware, utterly conscious, utterly aligned with Truth. For me, I pray: God, show me the grace to live THIS moment as your reflection, spreading love and seeking that which heals. I feel blessed to string two moments together that then turn into partial days and then perhaps, an entire day. The entire days are often days spent alone. It’s easy to be peace alone, without expectation, desire (you starving beast) and threat to my identity, to the possibility of humiliation, to the possibility of not being right.
We have become a culture of past and future thinkers, complexed with anxiety over what has been, the wounds we have suffered in some day long gone by. We weigh and balance and attempt to control the future thus mitigating the possible suffering we might experience. It takes great courage to accept what has happened, to forgive, to move forward with grace. And it takes great faith to trust that your tomorrows will be as they are supposed to be and that no amount of worry and protection will save you from the impersonal, natural events that you simply cannot change.
What is the antidote? I think Merton expressed brilliance in his simple statement. If we can find a way to cherish what is immediately before us because we KNOW that we won’t have it again tomorrow, we may be able to assign greater value to it. When we assign value to something or when we are grateful, we have greater access to our creative center…to our soul. We have a vague recognition of this value when we look at our babies and truly see them change before our eyes. They literally go from crawling to walking in ONE day. Ask any parent about the significance of THAT day. Or the day they first said “mama” and then all the days thereafter that we wish they would just play the count to 100 in your head game and give us one moment of quiet!
I invite you to join me today in choosing to know that everything you think, feel, say, see, smell, hear and do is unique to this moment. You will never have the opportunity to experience it as you are today. No matter what you are doing today, heighten your awareness and appreciate the color in the sky, the smile of a coworker, the person you share a meal with, the feelings you are having. Be accountable to the choice you make in responding to discomfort, to something that you normally judge, to someone who would benefit from your kindness instead of your indifference. Perhaps you are being called to be honest in this moment even if your honesty begs change where there is resistance. Becoming aware that this moment is the only one like it awakens your soul and invites you to live authentically now.