Wisdom When You Least Expect It
I'm abandoning political and social issues to blog a bit personally today. It was an excellent weekend -- one willed with fun, laughter and a whole lot of wisdom. I'm turning 27 tomorrow (Tuesday), so I spent Saturday and Sunday with friends and family. We ate, drank wine (ate some more) and truly enjoyed ourselves! After consuming way too much pizza and dozens of Candlelight's delicious wings (if you live in the NYC/Westchester area, you likely know these wings well), we played Taboo and laughed our ways into oblivion. On Sunday, my wife and my friend Bridget joined me in our backyard to try out my new helicopter from Brookstone (it's a remote-controlled unit that, in my view, is super cool). Okay, I know what you're thinking -- this soon-to-be 27-year-old shouldn't be playing with children's toys. That's neither here nor there. I have a penchant for technology, regardless of the recommended age of usage.
Anyway, we headed outside, I turned on the remote control and before I had a second to collect my scruples the helicopter shot up over our big white fence and landed in our neighbor's backyard. After trying to figure out how to conspicuously get the toy -- and failing -- I realized I had no choice but to knock on my neighbor's door. So, I did just that.
Upon knocking, my neighbor and I got into a discussion about nearly every topic under the sun (and fortunately, she willingly let me into the yard to collect the helicopter). My neighbor (we'll call her Ellen) ended up bringing some excellent words of truth to my ears.
See, Ellen suffers from a rare and painful disease. She's also in her eighties (though she'd easily pass for 50). Over the course of 45 minutes or so, Ellen shared many of the struggles she's had in her life, while I sat and listened patiently. While this would typically be an extremely depressing experience, there was something captivating about the way she spoke. Unlike so many others who have been scorned and battered, Ellen seemed happy. Even in discussing various travesties, she was bubbly and seemed to have a very positive outlook. She said,
You know, many people see me in pain. Then, they see me the next day out working in the yard and they say, 'Ellen, what are you doing?! You were so ill yesterday! You need to rest.' I tell them, 'Today is today and yesterday was yesterday.'"
See, it's Ellen's philosophy that we need to prevent ourselves from allowing the pain of yesterday to permeate our life experiences today. This concept truly stuck out to me. If God commands us to forgive and move on (which He does), Ellen's theory rings true. However, it's often extremely difficult to simply move on and forget. Furthermore, when we have a bad or painful experience, many of us (myself included) carry negative emotions for days, weeks, months -- even years.
In listening to her life's pain, Ellen described how she's used betrayal and disappointment to learn to take care of herself, while ensuring she becomes a stronger person. In the end, I was glad to hear Ellen's story and to soak in some of her wisdom.
Personally, I struggle with worry, though I know the promises God has made through Jesus Christ. Still, I worry about life circumstances I cannot control. Perhaps control, itself, is the issue. I know I am not alone in this struggle, but hearing Ellen's testimony of sorts made me more aware of my own deficiencies in the areas of forgiveness and reliance upon the Lord.
"Today is today and yesterday was yesterday" is an excellent philosophy. Rather than dwelling on the worries and pain of yesterday, we should be ready and willing to move forward, with each day starting on a clean slate. What started out as a lost toy in my neighbor's backyard ended in some unexpected wisdom. I always love when God gives us words of wisdom in, from and at the most unlikely of places.