December 31, 2005

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Why Go Through Life Waiting For "Someday"

A few years ago a furniture store near us ran an ad campaign, the slogan for which was, "Why go through life waiting for "someday?" Well, I didn't dash right out and buy a whole houseful of new furniture that I may want "someday," but that phrase really did stick in my mind. Good question there! Why go through life waiting for "someday?"

All of us have some hidden fears we're going to conquer... someday. Or some whimsical wish we're going to make come true. Or some derry-doing Walter Mitty-ish deed we're going to accomplish... someday.

And yes, we all have many practical, prosaic tasks to get to someday too. Poring through the
family photos and labeling them! Rebuilding the old stone wall out back. Sorting those boxes of stuff you've saved since the kids were little,or the boxes of Auntie Alice's stuff you haven't touched since she died.

But, some "somedays" are intrinsically more important than others because they touch the life of another. And because they often are the very things for which there comes a time when "someday" is no longer possible.

"One of these days, I want to stop in at the nursing home and just say 'hello' to Kate."

"I'd really like to take a day off sometime and just take the boys on a long, leisurely hike.

"I know it's wrong to be feuding with family and someday I really do hope we can straighten this out.

"Honey, someday, we'll have a weekend to ourselves. No kids. No phones. No hassles. Just us."

But in too many instances, saying "someday" to yourself is a good way to feel virtuous because you really do plan to get to it, but for now, you may bury a nettlesome "should do" in the bottom drawer!

So what is it we need to keep in mind when we're trying to decide if "someday" might not just be this day. Simply put, while perspective is certainly looking back and knowing that "this, too, shall pass," perspective is much more importantly the long look ahead with an open heart toward those attitudes and actions with enduring value.

But then we can be so easily overwhelmed by very neediness of this world: our family, our friends, our community and of course, the wider world. What can we, ourselves, personally, do about war and poverty and hunger, the countless tragedies, natural and of man's own making? It's easy to despair and wonder just what one person can do. How can any two hands hold back the surge of a tsunami? Can anything, any little thing I'm able to do actually make a difference?

So, I ask you: What can possibly be is sadder than the person who does nothing because they can only do a little. As Mother Teresa said, "There are no great deeds, only small deeds done with great love."

So, as we look to a new year, I'm not making resolutions about losing weight, saving more money, organizing the family photos, rebuilding the stone wall out back or sorting through the kids' stuff. Nope, I'm going to make this a year of "somedays," by not by any heroics, but through small, very small, intentions, attentions and actions that will matter ten years from now!

I will not be too busy to visit with a friend, play a game with a child, or share my garden's bounty of flowers and veggies with someone who'd enjoy them. Every single day this coming year offers opportunites for small kindnesses, those small deeds done with great love. I hope I can meet the challenge of those opportunities...

My very best wishes for your new year. Mary

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