The Best Day of Your Life?

Posted: July 28, 2014 in World On The Edge

scottsboro_al-white-fullMy family lived nearly ten years in Scottsboro, Alabama, a small, mountainous, and beautiful town off the Tennessee River. I wonder if neighborhoods like the one I experienced in Scottsboro are able to exist anymore. Today, it’s so important to keep your children close at hand. But then, our children were free to go most anywhere; roaming the woods, riding miles on bicycles, paddling around Roseberry Creek near the neighborhood dock where we had cook-outs, and lots of boating, skiing and swimming (while watching out for cotton mouth moccasins, of course.)

My cousin and her family lived steps away from us, and so did the finest neighbors anywhere. We were blessed to be there at the time we were, with those people, in that place of beauty. Our children loved it, especially the first three. Our last two children were babies then, born when we were living in Scottsboro, but my older children had many adventures with their friends. It wasn’t necessarily what they were doing, but who they were doing it with that made them happiest.

My oldest son was about nine years old when he came to me one night after we’d gotten home from a party with neighbors at the dock. Always a thoughtful child, he liked to size things up. That night was no exception. “Mama, this was a good day. In fact, I really think this was the best day of my life.”

What would make him say that? He was a child, for one thing. And as a child he lived in the present. He did not look back and grieve over something that happened yesterday, and he wasn’t troubled about the future. What affected him most was a particular day, a day he appreciated for what it had given him.

Isn’t this what gives all of us our best days–an appreciation of the present moment? If only we could take that as seriously as a child does.

Today is my oldest son’s birthday.(Happy Birthday, Chris!!) He is, of course, an adult. And as an adult, I’m certain his idea of what constitutes a “best” day has changed, as it does for all of us. As adults, more and more bad days seem to appear on the plates of our individual lives, days we have to deal with that are not so happy as a youngster’s day on the dock.

However, as adults, we have a distinct advantage over a young child. When a bad day happens, we can see it for what it is and learn from it. Often, it’s the worst day of our life that lets us know what our best day really is. But most important, as adults, we realize that tomorrow can produce just the opposite sort of day.  And this is a divine virtue we receive through the grace of God, called hope.

Hope is what keeps us going. Hope is the possibility of change.  And if we honestly want to ‘size things up,’ and if we truly trust in what we say we believe, then we’ll realize that with hope, even the worst day has power enough to  become the best day of our life.

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