There are always, it seems,
too many chores to do, too many books to read, too many places to go, too many meetings to attend, too many ideas to write about, too many people to see, too many friends to make, too many movies to watch, too many games to play, too many conversations to have, not nearly enough time, not nearly enough energy, not enough money, and not nearly enough wisdom to get it all done in good order.
We need eternal life, just so as to not fall hopelessly behind. No lifetime is enough to accomplish all there is to do. Thus it is that no one can boast of accomplishments, because what has been left undone is always going to be by far the longer list. If we are to be judged by sins of omission, then a terrible doom must await us all.
Thus it is that satisfaction, happiness, contentment or whatever it is we strive for, is always to be found in the appreciation of the present moment, the here and the now. Yesterday always will seem thin, for all the things that have been missed; and tomorrow, hopeless, for all that we will necessarily neglect. We have today. Today we can live in the passion of the moments, creating, perhaps, memories that will be our yesterdays, and promises that fill our tomorrows, that will prove to be pleasant because what we do now has the authentic stamp of what we want to remember, and what we hope in the future to fulfill.
So, perhaps, the farmer who ploughs and plants rejoices in the harvest, and when he harvests he gives thanks for the ploughing and the planting. The fisherman rejoices in the boat and the line and the time with the water, as much as he does with the catch. And while I read, my mind must shake loose from writing, and while visiting Sister A, it does me no good to fret over Brother B.
Contentment in all circumstances is an art developed by practice. When weary, let me enjoy the fatigue in my body and mind; when full of energy, let me use the strength of my body with exhilaration. When sleeping, let me sleep untroubled by the stresses of the previous day, or the worries of the next; when at work, let me not be distracted by yesternight’s dreams.
And let me do one thing just now. Accomplish one task today. Read one book, or one chapter; enjoy one movie; write one article; visit one person, fulfill one goal. Let me forgive myself the vast ocean of undone things, and do one thing, completely, wholly, with the full attention of my being. Whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, the Apostle said (and my mother would often repeat the admonishment), do it with thy might.
And where I cannot reach, or whatever I neglect, while my fears warn me that some disaster will befall someone I should have loved a bit more, a bit sooner, with a bit more energy, that Grace which overcomes fear assures me, as my dear sister said nearly seven hundred years ago, that all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I will yet praise him, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.