Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Recently a person attended one of my goal setting seminars with a different kind of focus; I will call him Richie. I had the feeling, as I was leading the group in a goal setting exercise, that Richie had recently traveled this road. After hearing his story I discovered that in fact he did have a new outlook on life; and goals attached.
Richie is now living his life as if he going to die tomorrow, but at the same time, he is living his life as if he is going to live forever. Confused? Simply put, he is living this way because six weeks prior to the seminar he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. News that made him stop and reflect seriously about the important things in his life. Not only was he thinking about his life yesterday and today, but was now thinking seriously about his life twenty years from now. Yes, with God’s help he plans to win the battle against this tumor and die an old man.
So, are you living your life like you are going to die tomorrow, and like you are going to live forever? I know this is a morbid thought, but a very important thought worth discussing. To live like this requires a certain amount of focus. Focusing, not on yesterday, but on today and tomorrow.
You must understand that yesterday is a canceled check. There is no way you can go back and change anything. You cannot take back a word you have spoken, foods you have eaten, time spent away from family, or mistakes you have made. Are you allowing your past to affect you negatively today and will you tomorrow? If you do it is probably because of fear and pain.
Fear usually comes from past failures. Failures that have made a deep imprint on your mind, and the pain from those failures keeps you from making the same mistakes again. A good example of this can be seen in relationships, our should I say, “failed relationships.” For instance, a person falls in love and gets married only to find that their spouse is a control freak. After several tough years of marriage, it ends in a messy divorce. The pain of this divorce, and the fear of the past has the person bound in relationship handcuffs – not willing to get close to another person for a long time.
You must also understand that today is full of challenges that will help you grow. Today is our bridge from yesterday to tomorrow. To put it another way, it is our bridge from what we can’t change to what we can. The challenges you face today are many times because of the decisions you made yesterday and will provide the strength you need to go into tomorrow confident and excited. There are 86,400 seconds in your life today. Once the clock strikes midnight today is gone, never to return. I encourage you to live today to its fullest. Go mach3 with your hair on fire, try things that you have never done before, do something crazy; just live.
Be like a friend of mine. He always wanted to run out to his mailbox with no clothes on. So, one cold winter’s night, about two o’clock in the morning he fulfilled his goal. If only his neighbors could have seen his “full moon!”
Tomorrow your potential can be increased. Richie is planning to be victorious over this brain tumor and is focusing his mental energy on his future. He is living like he will live forever. With no plans to die, he is spending time with his family, drawing up plans for their next new home, and looking forward to the new opportunities that God will bring his way.
Yes, he is living like he will die tomorrow – after all he has a killer inside his head. But instead of wallowing in discouragement he is choosing to focus on tomorrow with excitement and enthusiasm. He is also letting God take care of the tumor.
At the end of this Footprints and Monuments I want to give you something to think about. It is a rabbi’s thoughts on the life cycle.
Life is tough, it takes up a lot of your time. What do you get out of it? I think the life cycle is all backwards. The following is how I see it:
You should die first, get that out of the way
Then you should live twenty years in an old age home, you get kicked out when you are too young.
Then you get a gold watch, a red sports car and go to work. You work forty years until you are young enough to enjoy your retirement.
Then you go to college and party until you are ready for high school.
Then you go to grade school and become a little kid. You play and have no responsibilities.
Then you become a little baby.
Then you go back into the womb and spend your last nine months floating.
Then you finish up as a gleam in somebody’s eye.
I challenge you to live like you are going to die tomorrow, while at the same time like you are going to live forever.