“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)
My family and I had the opportunity to travel a bit this week and visit two families we dearly love: my wife’s longest friend and her husband and my wife’s brother and sister-in-law. While the two visits were different (one was to see their new home and the other was to visit during a time of illness), both the timing of the trip and the conversations we had were equally enlightening.
We have just celebrated New Year’s Day, the time when thoughts turn to resolutions and we make lists of habits we want to change, stop or start in our lives. It is the day that we state to those around us that we will begin the diet, join the gym or quit smoking. However, the developments of this week of travel have given me a different perspective on how we should be living life. Perhaps resolving to do something in the future is not the most important and profound decisions we should make as January 1st comes around each year.
During the first part of our journey, we spent some time with my wife’s friend at the theater seeing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The basic plot of the movie revolves around a middle-aged man who never been anywhere or done anything significant during his adult life who decides, instead of dreaming about adventure, he wants to take one. In the conversation that followed, it occurred to me that many of us are susceptible to the same temptation: to plan one day to do something but never plan today to do something. The problem with resolutions is often that they are solely future-oriented (something we’re planning on accomplishing over the next year), but life happens in the present.
During the second part of our journey, we sat across from loved ones who are living one day at a time because doctors have told them that time may be short. For them, resolutions to lose ten pounds or clean the garage seem hollow. For them, and for us as we sat in their kitchen, today is important – to say what needs to be said while it can be said, to share time and tears before it is too late. They have no guarantees of another year to make another list of resolutions; all they know is that they have today.
So, because the calendar has changed its digits and a new year is upon us, allow me to share my New Year’s resolution (if it can be called that) – I will attempt to live today fully. What I mean is this: I will make a concerted effort to not just dream about what I will do one day but to do it today; I will try to leave no expression of love or encouragement or comfort unspoken; I will seek to never put off to tomorrow what I can do today. Will you help me and join me and live today fully?
Whatever you resolve to do, I pray you will have the strength and determination to do it. And I pray you will be able to start today.