“You think this is just another day in your life? It is the one day that is given to you. Today is a gift, it is the only gift you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness,” brother David Steindl-Rast. This day is unique. The people we encounter, the words we speak, the exact way this day unfolds will never be repeated. On occasion I say “amen” to that, but when I slow down and consider the extraordinary gift of each new day, I am humbled and grateful for the time I have been given.
Life is full of surprises. On any given day I have multiple opportunities to choose love over hate, compassion over judgment, engagement over disdain, but often I fail. I was thinking about Mother Teresa this morning and how she saw everyone as an opportunity to love God. In her eyes, no one was to be thrown away or neglected. She said, “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” It is easier to quench the thirst of the body over that of the heart. If my first thought is how to love, no matter the situation, then I’m sure to have a memorable day. But that is not so easy or we’d all be saints.
It is exceedingly clear to me when I could be more loving, like last night when I acted without thinking, and tired was not a valid excuse. I got a call from my mom’s doctor. She forgot to call us last week with a critical lab report. She apologized. I was annoyed (a more accurate term would be livid) as I drove my mother back to emergency, worried that her sodium was now dangerously low, and I would have to leave her overnight. At emergency they dripped a bag of water and sodium into Mom’s depleted system. It reminded me of a story from the Upanishads (Hindu scriptures) about a father (Uddalaka) trying to explain the presence of God to his son (Svetaketu). He put a pinch of salt into a glass of water. He told his son to taste the water. After sipping the salty water Uddalaka asked Svetaketu to separate the salt from the water. The son said this could not be done. The father explained this is the nature of God, who is part of every being and can never be separated.
After the labs came back and God was no longer separate from mom, they released us on our own recognizance. We were elated. We could go home and watch Blue Bloods because that is what she does every night. (I’m just now noticing the blood theme, haha, the Holy Spirit has a sense of humor) The interesting part is we would not have gone to the hospital if we received those lab results last week. They would have handled the low sodium with medication. Turns out the sodium drip helped her turn the corner. So there you go, life is full of surprises, note to self, let them unfold gently.
When I take the time to quiet my thoughts I am so much more aware of all the good in the world. Embedded in every situation is the opportunity to do good, even the really horrible ones can be encountered with love. Mother Teresa says, “We need to find God, and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grown in silence, see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Wish I had read that last night. We are created in the image of God, this is permanent, and our hearts naturally respond to the needs of others. Where there is great love, there is also great treasure. This is the one day given to me and I have to ask myself what it would look like if I wrapped it in love?
I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to read my blog, it is an honor, and pleasure to share my thoughts with you, know that I am forever grateful.
A version of this post was previously published on cheryloreglia.blogspot.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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