I could have handled the situation much better. Louise had a letter saying she needed a blood test to check something out and she was worried. It’s hardly surprising when you’ve lost a child to cancer that you might have heightened fears about your health.
I just thought it would be okay because I knew that was the most likely outcome. Health is an area Louise tends to be anxious about and I don’t. I tend to worry more about things like money that she is fine about. I guess that’s what life is like – we all have our own insecurities and triggers.
On that day Louise was agitated and I was unhelpfully calm in a typically un-expressive blokeish way. I knew I couldn’t say it would be okay because I was very aware that we didn’t know what the outcome would be. ‘There is clearly nothing wrong with this child’, from our trusted GP who misdiagnosed Ben, still looms large. The symptoms weren’t obvious. The odds of Ben having a brain tumour were tiny…and now the odds of there being something wrong with Louise were very low but I knew it was possible.
Instead, I found myself thinking and saying that ultimately all we could know was that we have today. All we could do in the place of fear was to do today as well as we could, to pray and to keep going until we knew more.
Thankfully when the news came it was good news. All was well. I don’t think mid-panic Louise found my let’s-just-deal-with-today musings entirely helpful that night but it has stuck in my brain.
We have today. Ultimately that’s all we’ve got and life becomes about doing the best we can with it.
Forgive me if that sounds so basic as to be banal but I think we can easily get chewed up by a lot of stuff that isn’t about dealing with the day we’re facing.
Like regret. Regret gets us to look back at days gone by. We can agonise over previous decisions and mistakes that suck all the joy and opportunity out of where we are now. Regret is futile because we cannot change what’s gone before. Without being flippant and pretending this is easy, what’s done is done and cannot be undone. True, we can learn from past mistakes but beating ourselves up over them helps no-one. As a Christian I can take these failings to the Cross of Jesus. He says they were dealt with there. He tells me to leave them there with him and walk away free.
Then there’s worry. Worry gets us to look ahead at what might happen and contort ourselves with angst. That’s not a lot of help either. We can act well in the present to help shape a good future but we cannot control the outcome. The Bible tells us not to worry about tomorrow but just to deal with today, it challenges us – ‘Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not’.
I know some people who are carefree and happy go lucky. This Lucky isn’t one of them. I tend toward lists and control freakery and when there are things where the way ahead isn’t clear I tend to worry. Being told to relax in these situations is like a red rag to a bull. What I need is a solution. The solution Jesus offers in this passage in Matthew Chapter 6 is to look to him, to his love, his resources and his capability when mine is so clearly limited.
In Matthew Chapter 11 in The Message Translation we find this wonderful offer from Jesus: Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
We have today. God wants us to make the most of it, to use it well, to enjoy it. This works best, as someone once told me, if I recognise that it was His day to begin with.