Friday, January 21, 2011

A Perfect Day

A frequently heard suggestion for "living right" is to start each morning by saying out loud, "This is going to be a wonderful day." Not bad advice, really, unless you demand that "wonderful" include every tiny aspect of said day. Those of us with perfectionist tendencies can get surly even about inarguably good things, if they don't fit our prewritten "scripts." ("What's the big idea serving gourmet cheesecake when I had my heart set on a chocolate chip cookie?")

Probably a better saying for Christians to start their days with is the Bible verse "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Ps. 118:24, NIV, 1984 edition). But many of those to whom this verse is familiar have probably never read it in context. Psalm 118 as a whole is no idyllic pastoral meditation, but sets a scene of "anguish," hard battles, and severe "chastening." The writer rejoices because God delivered him out of trouble, even from near death. He never complains because God didn't stop things from going that far.

There's someone from whom those inclined to grumble over traffic jams could take a lesson.

Do you hope this will be a perfect day?
Has there ever been such a thing?
Does not every day in this fallen world
At least one disappointment bring?
Are you tempted to find some tiny flaw
And to let it ruin all the rest
Of your day? Do you curse the smallest pain
For disturbing your "perfect" quest?

Even Christ Himself, when He walked on earth,
Knew frustration and stress and strain, 
And He did not come to remove all such,
But to show us where loss is gain.
When we walk with Him, He will give us strength
To be faithful, and watch and pray,
Till we all stand pure, at the end of time,
In our God's endless, perfect Day!


Sally said...

I was at a workshop on contemplative prayer last weekend, and the speaker suggested we look through our day for singular moments of joy. When he started doing this, he found his own moments were small gestures of affection from his loved ones rather than moments of acheivement, and he now appreciates them far more.

Dana Wilson said...

Thank you for the thoughtful post, Katherine. Being joyful daily in whatever circumstances is an intentional choice we as believers should make, rather than being bounced around by unmet expectations. Hmmm...something to think about!

Katherine Swarts said...

Thank you both, Sally and Dana!

My idea of a "singular moment of joy" is being touched by a small beauty of creation: a songbird landing on my patio, the glimpse of a full moon, a tiny but colorful flower at my feet. (Here in Houston, we have the luxury of seeing flowers, greenery, and songbirds year round--the temperature almost never gets below 25 Fahrenheit!)