“We are just going to have to take things one day at a time,” my mother said to me, shortly after I arrived in Canada for the summer. She was referring to the fact that this summer is very much about my dad’s sickness and helping him get through treatments and all the ups and downs that go along with such business. We had been having a bit of a “what if” conversation which always seems to have the potential to derail us into a bit of an emotional frenzy. But this is not the time to do that because as we all know.. we cannot determine the future. That’s not our job, and if it was, we’d stink at it.
And so we have been taking things as they come. Looking at what is on our plate for the day and dealing with that alone. And you know what? It’s been a good way to live. As a girl who loves to have a one week, one month, one year, five year plan always running through my head, this has been a new challenge but it’s been very helpful. I find that I’m learning to be mindful of my time and to think of my life inside one day instead of freaking myself out about the future and all the scary “what ifs”.
In May I bought a 365 journal (like this) and every night I write something in it to remember the day I just lived. Sometimes it’s a list or random thoughts or a meaningful quote. It’s been helpful to look and note all of the good moments and happy things that have happened. Sometimes the day isn’t that great but there is always something little that happened… words spoken, little treats, happy moments and I do think it’s important to keep track of those things. Sometimes I write about sad things too, as they are still part of life but I must say, that it has been a good exercise to really think about my day in detail. It also helps to keep all of the days from blending into each other.
This brings me to another idea.. which is the idea that even when you are going through something really difficult, it’s important to look for little silver linings and happy moments and things that can sweeten up a fairly dire situation. My dad was telling me a story about how he was needing to take public transport in the dead of winter and how waiting for a bus to show up in Canadian temperatures could in fact be quite miserable, until he realized that if he timed it right, he could get a Starbucks and stand sipping that while waiting for the bus. That little thing made the whole experience quite a bit better. Looking for ways to make miserable times semi or completely enjoyable is a skill. It’s called having a talent for happiness and I believe that it’s something I need to continue to incorporate even more. Just because life isn’t 100% happy these days, doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the little things. I need to be awake to all that is going on in my life. Maybe I just need to enjoy a conversation with a friend, or a few words exchanged with a family member, maybe I need to let myself really love the taste of a vanilla latte or be excited about how great it feels to wear a new shirt. Maybe I need to let myself enjoy reading a good book and sipping on tea in the waiting room of the clinic. It’s okay to do this. It’s okay to look for happiness in little, somewhat trivial things. I think it’s part of being awake and alive.
And so I work at concentrating on the now, the whole now. I look at all the things in this one day that make me happy, I deal with the things in this one day that sadden me and I trust God to be exactly what I need Him to be for me today. All the while, I am firmly believing and trusting that He will be everything I need tomorrow and the next day too.