Keep going, Day-by-Day
It’s January. Again.
Doesn’t it feel like we just finished starting a new year? And here we are, starting a new year all over again.
A different year, but somehow so many things the same.
Time is flying, I said at the beginning of last year. Here I am, saying the same thing again this year. It was the sentence I swore I’d never say. The younger version of myself laughed at the older people who said time would one day feel like it flies by with wings for which you’d do anything for them to hold still.
And here I am, clutching to the wings of time, begging the moments to linger just a little longer.
There’s the boy in high school in my house that keeps talking ACT scores and college preferences. He talks so fast, dreaming of his “one day” that he doesn’t notice my watery eyes when he talks of leaving here. He’s so busy looking forward that he can’t see me looking back and remembering the times when I thought he would stay little forever.
How many times have I stood in the same kitchen, making the same breakfast? I’ve asked the same question for years. “You want a dipping egg or scrambled?” I asked it when I had to help them sit on the seat, and I ask it now, when they’re perfectly capable of getting on their own seat and even cooking their own egg. Their sweet cherub faces have grown leaner and older. So has mine.
The older, wiser mom whose kids are all grown told it to me years ago and it rings in my head on days when I’m not sure I’m doing a single thing right.
“How did you do it in the day-to-day?” I asked.
“I just did it day-to-day,” she said.
So in the blur of years, it’s how we spend each day that counts.
A year seems impossible to conquer, but the day is only a few hours long, a more manageable goal.
“It’s fear of failure that leaves us frozen,” said the counselor we sought some help from last month. She leaned in close, the session over, but still whispering some words of hope to a weary and worn mom who wanted to sit and soak in just a moment more in the sanctuary of a safe place.
“Our fears will stop us from what we can really do every time.”
It’s what I want to tell the one in my house whose fears feel bigger than his future. That I see who he could be, just keep going. The giving up is pulling you backward, but if you push forward, you’ll realize your fears were so small compared to the brightness of your future.
Mother Teresa said it like this: “Abandoning Loreto (her convent) was an even harder sacrifice for me than leaving my family that first time in order to follow my vocation. But I had to do it. It was a calling. I knew where I had to go; I did not know how to get there.”
Stepping outside of the safety of her cloistered walls is where she met a world in poverty who so desperately needed someone to take each day and give it to them. But she never forgot where love starts. She loved a world, but reminded the world where love begins.
“Sometimes it is harder for us to smile at those who live with us, the immediate members of our families, than it is to smile at those who are not so close to us. Let us never forget: love begins at home.”
So I’ll be at my home. Cooking the same eggs and toast. Giving smiles to each member, encouraging them forward, letting them know they’re loved here so they can go out there and love others. I’ll smile so they know their fears are conquerable, and when you face them, you’ll realize they weren’t as big as they were in your imagination.
So go on and conquer the world, because I’ll be right here. Smiling and loving and believing. And while the years etch their telltale lines in my face, I’ll be the one who is counting the days and making each day count. I’ll tell you to step out when it feels safer to stay in. I’ll wipe my eyes and dream of your future with you. Because one day you’ll be the one telling me how time flew, and where did each day go? And I’ll tell you the days were spent conquering fears and flying with the wings of time.