I've thought alot about my dad this week, especially since it fell so close to Thanksgiving Day. He was born on November 21st. Depending on the year, his birthday, like this year would fall within two days of one of his favorite holidays.
My dad taught me much about the meaning of gratitude, of being thankful, and being aware of things around you to be thankful for – large or small. He also taught me one of his favorite sayings.
When I was eight years old, we went to the traditional (at the time) Thanksgiving Service. It was there, while I was sitting up straight, prim and proper, with my little white gloves on, decked out in new patten leather shoes that were meant to be worn only on 'special' occassions.
Dad leaned over to me. He whispered ever so quietly in my ear: "Pay attention to this next reading. It is one of my very favorite, and I hope you will learn to do what it says. It will serve you well, as it has me!
"Sufficient unto this day, is the evil thereof. Therefore, take no thought of the morrow, for it will have enough worries and cares of its own."
from: The Good Book – 1928 version (as my dad called it!)
Even at the tender, young age of eight, the weight and significance of the saying was not lost on me. In fact, it would become my father's and my 'buzz phrase". We would remind each other, (in updated language!) to take one day at a time; to not fret, worry, or sweat the small stuff. And he would often remind me to not borrow trouble,or worry about the future, for each day has enough cares and concerns of its own, and tomorrow will take care of itself - IF I let it!!
I have learned the blessing of living life 'one day at a time'. Even when I might not see it, I can feel the vicarious power, well beyond my own. There is a Power that is not of the earthly power, rather, there is an understanding. No matter what I will face – whether for good or for what may seem as evil or bad, when I take a deep breath, focus on the moment and remember to keep my priorities, my passions and the purpose I feel for my life within its boundaries, somehow, someway, it will always work out.
Admittedly, in the retrospect mirror of time, it has always has worked out – and more times than not, for the best, to boot.
Some people may look at my life and say "Oh my! You have been through so much hardship!"
I reply, "What I have walked through may be different than what you have walked through, but we each have our unique path to walk. I would not trade a day of what I have gone through for the lessons I have learned and the treasures that have I have found and the countless lives who have touched and blessed mine."
Each morning we wake up, we are given the gift of a new day. It is a PRESENT.
But what good is your present if you are not willing to receive it? Or open it, much less use it for its unique, given purpose?
I think what my father was trying to teach me some 50+ years ago was the invaluable lesson of: SHOW UP! OPEN YOUR GIFT! USE IT! The gift of today was chosen just for YOU!
More importantly, he taught me to live IN the Present, and to BE PRESENT. C'mon! Open your gift!
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.