Friday, November 28, 2014

The Day After

A day like today is perhaps the most difficult kind of day. Yesterday was Thanksgiving. And today, of course, is...Friday.

When I wrote about healing on Wednesday, I wrote about how such a drastic change in one's life tends to send one walking into quietness, wandering into stillness, disoriented and trying to figure out what this kind of change really means. Yesterday was that kind of day for a lot of us. It was a break. It was a chance to slow down, to enter the quietness (or what passes for it when we are gathered together), to enjoy the time with our friends and family, food and football. Done right, it's kind of like a reset button. It refocuses our lives on the things that are most important. Most of us would say that we like the down time. We like the quiet.

And then there's Friday.

Specifically, in America, "Black" Friday. It's been said that only in America can you stampede each other in pursuit of stuff precisely one day after celebrating all that you already have. Such is true. But the imagery of this kind of Friday is not unlike any other day we might experience. See, the trouble for most of us when we have this sort of day - this sort of resetting, healing, quiet, whole day - is that tomorrow's still another day. And somehow, it's so easy to forget.

For the blind man, today is the day that he regains his sight. Today is the first day he sees the world around him. But tomorrow? Tomorrow is Friday. Just the day after Thursday. For the bleeding woman, today is the day her bleeding stops. Today is the first day she can be found clean. But tomorrow? Tomorrow, she has some cleaning to do. A day like any other day. For the demon-possessed man, today is the day the demon leaves him. Today is the first day he dresses himself. But tomorrow? Tomorrow, he has to get up and get dressed. It's just another day.

The first day is special; it's the day that something begins. But the second day so often is just a day; it's a day that that very same something simply is. And that's where most of us start to lose it.

In the blink of an eye, what was yesterday a miracle is today simply true. Starkly true, in the best or the worst of circumstances, but true nonetheless. It's not an aberration from life as we know it; it has become life as we know it. Life that we still have to live, new way or no new way. Thursday has blessings, but Friday has demands. The question we too easily lose sight of is this:

How do we do Friday in light of Thursday? How do we do tomorrow in the spirit of today?

This is where most of us stumble. This is where most of us fall. For awhile, our new day becomes something we retreat to. The blind man retreats to his sight when he has time to enjoy it. The bleeding woman retreats to her cleanness when her mind has a moment to process. The demon-possessed man leaves the cemetery only when he's bold enough to try something new. We come back to our place of stillness to relive the miracle, forgetting that the miracle is made for the living.

The blind man is not made to live sighted in quiet moments; he's made to see the day unfold before him. The bleeding woman should not rejoice in her cleanness only when she has the time to reflect; the new day is clean. The demon-possessed man is not bound to the cemetery until he can fathom his sanity; the world is his for the taking. We are not meant to be stuck in our quiet places seeking wholeness; we are meant to live from our wholeness seeking quiet places. Seeking places where, in the course of a Friday, it sinks in all over again what a new day this is. We're meant to hold onto that newness even in tomorrow, even on the second day, even on just another day. 

We have moments like these - healing moments, Thanksgiving moments, new moments - and they are meant to give us new life. What's unfortunate is that for most of us, these do not give new life; they give two lives. They give us a life we live on Thanksgiving that stands in contrast to the one we live on Friday. They give us a life we live in our first sighted moments that stands in contrast to the days we live blinded. They give us a life we live clean the stands in contrast to our uncleanliness. They give us a live we live sane that stands in contrast to our mindlessness. So we become a people of dual reality, a people of two lives - a life of quiet thanks, and a life of stampeding each other in pursuit of an advertised bargain.

That's not how it's meant to be. We are meant to have one life, and to have it abundantly. A day of quiet thanks is an invitation to a life of quiet thanks. A sighted day is an invitation to a life of seeing. What God does today is not meant only for today; it's meant, as well, for tomorrow and for all the tomorrows to come. The challenge for us, then, and it's not easy, is to learn to live like that. Our challenge is to figure out how to live Friday in light of Thursday. 

The first day is easy; the second is a choice. When God gives you today, what will you do with tomorrow? In light of this day, how will you live the day after?

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