I don't remember if I've posted on this idea at all before, but if I have, forgive me, because I feel like talking about it again.
There are plenty of people who talk about living each day of our lives as if it is our last. I know what they mean, that they want to be uninhibited, do the things they've always wanted to do, but are normally too afraid to do, because they can't foresee all the consequences. They want to quit their jobs and go to Peru, or do something outrageous. And I think the most admirable piece of this position is that they want to live without worrying about tomorrow, like Jesus taught us. I applaud that, but I think they're missing the point of what Jesus was saying. I don't think Jesus was saying, don't worry about tomorrow, because I'll fix whatever stupid thing you do today. His words were a call to faith and obedience, both wholehearted and incredibly courageous. So mainly, I think this idea of living each day like it's our last is just too abstract; it's too confusing. It clashes with our reasoning.
I propose that we live each day like it's our first. Now, of course, I don't mean that we should live like we were just born, anymore than those others mean we should live like we were 110 years old, too old and weak to get out of bed. What I mean is that we should look at each day as a fresh start, a new opportunity. We should also approach life with a sort of bright-eyed "faith-of-a-child" attitude. Having that courageous faith I was talking about earlier requires us to approach life and God with an unadulterated mind, untouched by the cynicism of age. Now of course, this is just as much a specified analogy, with a lot of holes if you take it too far. We need wisdom and learning to guide us on our way. We need to learn from our experiences along the way, treasure the lessons and the memories. But here is probably my biggest point: we cannot be tied to what has happened before, as if that is all that can happen again. If you feel God let you down, let it go - it's a new day. If you are disappointed with your lot, let it go - it's a new day. Letting go of the past is essential to moving on to a new life, even if "the past" is five minutes ago.
As I'm making this distinction, I'm reminded of the movie Groundhog Day, which I'm sure most of you have seen since it's on TV every year in February, and not a few times on other days of the year. When Bill Murray starts out his cycle of Feb 2nd's, he suddenly realized there are no consequences. He lives each day like it's the last day of his life, stuffing himself, sleeping around, drinking heavily, jumping off cliffs, doing things no sane man would do, because he can. But as the days go on and on, starting over and over, he begins to realize that none of it was what he wanted. So he has to change his thinking. He starts to live each day fresh. He learns to play piano, he helps his neighbors, he does favors, he perfects the smallest acts of kindness, he begins to live each day like it's the first day of a bright and brilliant future. It's kind of a new look at that movie for me, and I like it.
Anyway, I'm realizing now that what I'm talking about is basically the cliche, today is the first day of the rest of your life, and I'm writing this to shy away from cliches, and that really pisses me off. Not really, but I think I have a valid point, because I'm tired of people saying to live today like it's your last. Because it's not your last, and you shouldn't live it like it's your last. But it is your first, in a very real sense, because you are not who you were yesterday - you've changed, you've grown, or maybe you've shrunk, you've learned, or maybe you've forgotten, you've eaten and pooped, your cells have died, and you've made new ones, you've had new experiences, even if they were similar to most of your other experiences, you're a different person, and today is a brand new day for you, so it is definitely a beginning. And if you think, I don't have to live today by yesterday's rules, I don't have to be today what I hated being yesterday, and I can plant a new seed in me that will grow tomorrow, then you've really started something. And I think we're here to start something, and if we end anything, I think it's mainly so that we can start something else. And that's a really positive way of looking at the world, which will only do us some good.