God's understanding of time is far different than ours. We are very busy right now looking at our calendars that are running out of pages, thinking about what it means to open up an entirely new book, looking forward to our next chapter, and wondering if maybe we wasted the last one.
But God says...you don't have all that. All that stuff you're worried about right now, it's fake. You made it up. It's something you humans do to yourselves, then get all stressed about it.
What God says is that we have but one measure of time: today. Right now. That's it.
Our eternal God who has invited us to live with Him forever, who has sent His Son so that we have the promise of tomorrow, is constantly reminding us that all we have right now is...today.
The Gospels tells us how silly is the man who makes any plans to do something for himself tomorrow because for all he knows, he could die tonight. And then what happens to his intentions? A rich man who is building up his wealth is gone suddenly and never gets to spend it and may not even know what comes of it at all. A man who plans to eat and drink today and get down to business tomorrow may never get down to business at all because tomorrow isn't real; all you have is today.
And the same is true about yesterday. So many of us (raising my hand here) spend so much of our time trying to live in our yesterdays. Thinking about the things we did that we didn't want to do or don't want to do again. Thinking about the mistakes we've made. Thinking about the things that didn't go quite right. Trying to hold onto the things that went well. Always wanting to live in what was done instead of moving on into what we have now. And we, too, are missing it. There's no such thing as yesterday because the only thing that is real is today. It's right now.
It's this breath.
I'll be honest - I believe this. I believe that all we have is right now. But I get caught up in the yesterdays and tomorrows just as much as anyone else. In fact, I never think more about "today" than I do at this time of year, when I feel all of the pressure to think about yesterday and tomorrow and, quite honestly, I don't want to do it. I'm filled with the same sense of wastedness that everyone else is. I have the same questions about what I've done with my time that everyone else does. It's easy for me to get stuck thinking about what I could have done, but didn't, and what I want to do, but not really right now.
I'm working on it.
One of the ways that I'm working on it is in trying to stop myself from thinking about things too much. That is, from putting off until tomorrow what I know I need to fix today.
When something comes up that I understand is a flaw in my actions, an error in my ways, it doesn't do me any good to think things to myself like, "Goodness. I should study this pattern in my life and figure out where it comes from and how I might best change it some day." That's tempting, but it never gets me around to the place where I'm making actual changes. All it's doing is helping me waste today until today becomes yesterday and I regret it. Always holding out for a tomorrow that doesn't actually exist.
Instead, what I'm working on, is taking a moment in which I know I was not my best self, accepting that it wasn't my best moment, and deciding right now that I never want to live that moment again. Letting it go into the past, but embracing a new present and inspiring myself that all I have is right now...and right now, I choose for that thing to not be my reality. I choose to not make that mistake again.
It doesn't mean I always get it right. It doesn't mean I never do make that mistake again. It means that at every point, I am choosing this moment. This one right now. Not the last one. Not the next one. This one. And doing my best to make today - this breath - the best one I can make it.
No matter what the page on the calendar says.