I t was Edwin Markham who wrote:
At the heart of the cyclone
Tearing the sky
And flinging the clouds and
the towers by,
Is a place of central calm.
Each of us needs such a place. Just as the cyclone derives its power from the calm center, so does the individual. That place is found in learning to live life one day at a time.
Look to this day! Don’t look back regretfully at yesterday. It was yours; now, it belongs to God. All of its cares and concerns, mistakes and failures have passed forever beyond recall. We can’t undo a single act we performed; we can’t recall a single word we said. Yesterday is gone. Jesus, speaking to one weighed down by the burdens of yesterday, counseled, “Go, and sin no more.” Even so he speaks today to you and me.
Look to today! Don’t look forward apprehensively to tomorrow. It belongs to God; it will be yours. All of its promises and perils, hopes and fears, opportunities and dangers are out there in God’s future. Until it arrives, it is totally out of reach. Jesus, speaking on a mountainside one day to a multitude worried about the future, said, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself.” Even so he speaks to you and me today.
Look to today! That is the one day with which you must deal. You know, we can deal with just about anything if we know it is for just one day. It is when we take on the burdens of those two awful eternities—yesterday and tomorrow that we break down. It is not the happenings of today that drive us mad. It is remorse and bitterness for something that happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.
In a railroad station late one afternoon a minister watched the man at the information desk. He stood serene and calm in the midst of a sea of people coming at him from every direction. His eyes were fixed in turn on each person to whom he was speaking. Everyone else was shut out.
“Yes, sir,” he was saying, “the train for Houston leaves at 6:20.” The passenger repeated the question twice. Each time he was answered calmly and with patience.
Later, in a brief lull, the minister said to him, “How do you do it? It must be very difficult dealing with the public this way.” The answer was never to be forgotten. With a smile the man at the information desk said, “I don’t deal with the public. I deal with individual men and women, boys and girls. I take them one at a time and give each one my total attention.” He had found it—“a place of central calm.”
Don’t look back regretfully. Don’t look forward apprehensively. Live today to the fullest. It will never come again. So with God’s help make it the best day of your life.
Happy New Year and God Bless!
Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.