Live for today, not someday

By Gerry Lewis | Published Saturday, July 14, 2018

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Dec. 7, 1941: “A day that will live in infamy,” according to president Franklin Roosevelt.

Sept. 11, 2001: For a generation that has only read about Pearl Harbor in history books, Sept. 11 is another day that will live in infamy.

Jan. 20, 1996: This one didn’t make the news, but for Mrs. Sweetie and me, it is another day that will live in infamy.

That day changed our lives. Dreams died. Anxiety moved in next door. A chronic, progressive, incurable disease moved into our house. History is separated by initials: before and after Sweetie was diagnosed with MS.

Because we are partners in this journey, it was not her diagnosis. It was ours. It was our children’s. It is our ever-present traveling companion. Our grandchildren will never identify Sweetie apart from her motorized wheelchair.

And it has opened the door to amazing possibilities.

I hope that last sentence made you pause and took you by surprise a little bit. I could write a book on the lessons MS has taught us, but for now I want to only mention one that I was reminded of just this morning.

We just had a first at our house. We had our oldest grandchild for a weekend. No parents. Just a 3 1/2-year old with our undivided attention.

We had a blast. She did, too. After she went home last night, Sweetie asked me what was my favorite part of the weekend. I told her, without hesitation, that it was hearing, at least 100 times, “I love you, Grandpa.”

I can’t wait for the next time. I can’t wait for the other two grand-blessings to get old enough for their solo visits. I’ve got some big plans for those little ones. I’m already dreaming of what it will look like.

But, here’s the important lesson that I remembered: I don’t want to miss any of today’s little moments because I’m dreaming big dreams for someday.

My Granddad Pete worked in the oil field until he was well into his 70s. He always said that, when he retired, grandmother and he would travel and do things they never had time to do while they were both working. But grandmother died before he retired.

When Sweetie was diagnosed with MS, we made a decision about how we would approach life. We would make plans for the future, but we would not presume upon the future. We established a new rule for living: Someday is today.

We will not wait until someday to enjoy life. We will not wait until some day to have fun and go places and do things. If we still get to do those things in retirement, then we will have done them twice.

I would not wish a chronic illness on anyone. But I would wish for something that challenges your assumptions about the future. I would wish for something that would cause you to rely more fully on the grace of God. I would wish for something that reminds you that you can choose not to live as a victim of circumstances, but to understand how much your life today, not just someday, matters to God.

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association in Decatur.

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