Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today.
Let us begin.
~ Mother Teresa
I thought I knew what I was going to write about this morning. I considered the topic, researched scripture, and found some relevant quotes. I had it all figured out.
Then my email beeped. A friend’s teenage daughter is currently enduring chemotherapy; the email arrived from her aunt who ordered a copy of Relentless Grace. She asked if I would include a reference to the treatment in the inscription. Her precise words: “I think that this time in her life will be life changing for a lot of people. I want to remember this time for that.”
I stared at the screen. “I want to remember this time …” isn’t what I expected. A precious child battling cancer isn’t typically a memory to be preserved. More commonly it’s I just want to get through this or Let’s forget this experience and move on.
I’m not a big fan of simplistic platitudes in troubled circumstances. During times of comfort it’s easy to spout inspirational wisdom about finding opportunity within pain. It’s quite another thing when someone you love suffers and you can still say, “I want to remember this time.”
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. (Rom 8:28a)
This is one of my favorite scriptures, a foundational statement that explains how we face adversity when there’s no way to face it. Here’s a paraphrased version of the idea.
God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 26-28 The Message)
Mostly, I don’t know how to really practice this. When times get hard and the pain and fear crash around me, I don’t want to savor the experience. I want to survive the difficult times, get past the pain, and forget the grief. I don’t “… want to remember this time.”
But today’s all we have, and it’s a gift whether it brings tragedy or triumph. We often can’t change what happens. We can do our best to approach it with love and gratitude.
That email really messed up my plans. I’m glad.
What’s precious about this time that you need to remember?