“Be Mindful of Today”

By Rob Docter, Editor-in-Chief

There’s a new day coming
with a promise of magnificent grandeur;
The sun will rise, and with it, the night sky’s
deep hue becomes an azure of delight;
Soft clouds circulate playfully across the heavens;
The snow is gone and with it the cold, heavy slush
of its lasting contempt disappears;
The pelting rain no longer bites our naked depth,
but falls gently among infant plants
of a new come spring;
The mood of permanent never-endingness that
permeates our souls in winter’s chill dissipates
in the warmth of an Easter morning.

There is a promise to be seized, a transformation to be achieved. We must always remember our individual responsibility to breathe life into the gifts God has given us and to his son, who gave the most powerful gift of all, his life. Where would we be without grace? How would we live without love? Could we continue to exist without hope? Can you imagine life without joy?

The first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox often falls in April. It announces Easter. It speaks of today and tomorrow and tells us to forget yesterday. Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. The irretrievable past is dead and gone, only a history to learn from—never a place in which to live.

Easter speaks of new life, new hope, new ideas, new directions, new energy. The grief following the death of yesterday dissipates and disappears to be resurrected in the hope of tomorrow’s arrival.

Some seem to choose to live as if yesterday was today, refusing to believe that what once was is no more. They carry its burden. It drains their strength. They walk through life with back bowed and head down, too exhausted to sing April’s song. They deny its beauty and vitality and choose to live with a dead yesterday.

Some seem locked into the cacophony of yesterday, deaf to the promise of tomorrow. They fall back on old habit patterns to rescue them from the insecurities of the unknown tomorrow. They seem unwilling to cope with the demands of the new and, sensing stress and threat, enter either a “fight or flight” mode. They resist the present physically and emotionally. They deny hope. They flee to safer, more predictable surroundings and pursuits. For some, this is a retreat to addiction. For others it’s a rejection of anything new that might challenge the wisdom and validity of the “tried and true.”

April’s song is new.

I speak of new cities and new people
I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes.
I tell you yesterday is a wind gone down,
A sun dropped in the west.
I tell you there is nothing in the world
Only an ocean of tomorrows,
A sky of tomorrows.
(Carl Sandburg)

Some institutions, organizations, and establishments have existed for centuries. They have assembled systems and traditions which proved beneficial in their yesterdays. They often tinker with change, but rarely move beyond “first order” change. The system itself remains, for the most part, unchanged. Thus, yesterday’s lack of fit in today’s world leaves the institution unimproved and deteriorating.

I tell you yesterday … A sun dropped in the west.

Who speaks for the poor? On the issue of advocacy, I sometimes feel as if The Salvation Army seems to exist trying to hold the night back, living in yesterday’s world. Sometimes, we seem invisible on important subjects. Who shouts the warnings?

In a speech at the recent National Social Services and Disaster Management Conference, Candy Hill, executive vice president of social policy and external affairs for Catholic Charities USA, spoke of the importance of advocacy within Congress. Her organization believes it is vital. She said they have several lawyers and a number of lobbyists speaking to representatives on crucial issues facing the poor, writing proposed legislation.

I think we have one officer at NHQ with multiple responsibilities tasked with the same duties.

My Easters, now, are measured in smaller numbers, but I will continue to be mindful of today.

How about you?

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