Tomorrow, I’ll Miss You

A cohort of Popeye’s would say he’d gladly pay tomorrow for a hamburger today.  I suppose it’s a very human thing to seek gratification without delay and a payment plan though such should be approached with caution.  It could be argued that this mindset is at least a part of the current decline in work ethic that everyone talks about regardless of field of employ.  Beyond these is the general tendency by the many to procrastinate counting on future opportunities for accomplishment.  It’s probably a good idea to pay-as-you-go.  At least, it makes the bookwork less confusing.  We might think that procrastination would be for the weak-minded if it were not also to be seen in high-achievers and often at that.

We are always counting on tomorrow.  Buddy Ebsen played a character on the Andy Griffith Show famous for saying tomorrow is the greatest invention ever because there is nothing a person can’t do tomorrow.  Dave Browne was a likeable drifter and petty criminal who formed a bond with Opie and led the boy (by his example) into bad habits such as skipping school to go fishing and avoiding work.  Many are following Dave’s example, wittingly or not, without a strong father-figure to correct the errors of their ways.  This overreliance on the future assumes both that we will have time to come and ability to perform.  Dreams must give way to action for the theoretical to become actual.

The old saying about passing a way only once proves true in most of our lives.  The thing is, we never know when we are at a particular place for the singular or last time.  We never notice the “lasts” though we always mark the “firsts.”  In sitting with people during the final days of their earthly lives, I’ve heard many reflections on the theme “if I had only known.”  Wasted chances, opportunities lost all because we did not realize the importance of acting today.  One thing for sure- we will understand the real importance of things after they are gone and know exactly what and how our efforts should have been expended.  Not knowing the future, perhaps making our best attempts at all points will serve as a protective hedge.

Ages ago, each morning, I would fix lunches for my wife and sons.  I developed a pretty good system for making three light meals in a short period of time, but this did not assuage the occasional thought that it would be nice not to have to make them.  Then one son went to college, and it was two.  A few years later, the other left, and I was down to one.  The week after our second son was gone, I thought, “What a privilege it has been to be able to make lunches.”  Many would like to have a child to care for, yet we can wish away our privileges.  There is a time for every purpose under heaven, but the shelf-life on purposes is not eternal.  Daily, we lose opportunities and abilities for good and worthwhile works.

The Good Book says we don’t know what a single day may bring and should not plan on tomorrows.  At the same time, we are told to number our days and apply our hearts to wisdom.  It would seem we are to consider the future but live the present.  Each moment swiftly becomes history and is lost forever.  Only our actions matter and not our intentions.  Tomorrow, we will want the chance to redo today but will find it a thing of air unable to be grasped.  Clear hindsight will reveal the truth and result in tears of rejoicing or remorse.  As with occasions to enterprise, relationships will not be always be present or possible.  I’ll miss you in time to come, so I should not take you for granted today.

Sterl

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