“People always tell me ‘Have a nice day!’
Well, what if I don’t want to?
What if I want to have a crappy day?”
“Write it on your heart that every day
is the best day in the year.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
So many of my friends are having bad days. I’m not talking – the baby spits up on your best shirt, kids are squabbling, someone cuts you off on the freeway, you burn the toast, you’re late to work – mild inconvenience days. No. I’m talking extra troubling days. Those kind of days when hope is broadsided by crisis. You know what I mean.
The lay off
The grim diagnosis
These are lousy, how-am-I-going-to-get-through-this, no good, down-right bad days. How do we deal with them?
Not long ago, a friend asked advice for her no good down-right bad day, and as I commenced with some long, involved advice, I remembered a simple saying I saw on one of those home renovation shows. At the show’s end, the completely refurbished home had a large metal sign in the living room that read “Today is a Good Day for a Good Day.” Isn’t that fantastic?
Great inspiration for a renovated home. Great inspiration for a life being renovated.
Today is a Good Day for a Good Day
Renovation. Ugh. Ever feel like the walls of your world are being punched with holes, torn down, or moved? Like protective ceilings are suddenly altered and life is disheveled?
Ever had a bad day?
What am I saying!? Of course you have! We all have – including yours truly. But if you are currently reeling from one – if Today is one of those bad days – think on the refurbished home saying:
Today is a good day for a good day.
The first word of that phrase designates the moment – “Today,” and puts the decision in your hands. Today is a good day. Not last year when you were on vacation. Not next month when the check comes in. Not in some distant future when your dream is finally fulfilled. This day. Today.
No matter the condition, this day has potential to be a good day. David thought so.
King David penned the Psalm:
This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Look at the first word of this verse. There it is again. This is the day which the Lord hath made. Did David really mean THIS day? Today? No matter the condition?
I like to think that Sundays are days the Lord has made
Holidays are days the Lord has made
These are the kinds of days the Lord has made
But “This day”?
Yes. “This day” includes all days. Tax Filing days, Final Exam days, Divorce days, bringing your mother to the hospital for surgery days. The last one I listed unraveled me. Surprisingly so.
To the Hospital
Like most people, when it comes to health, I carry a considerable amount of faith in modern medicine. But this surgery for my mom was different from others. This was far more invasive. It was spinal surgery, which carries a great deal of risk. Risk of nerve damage, paralyzation, death. And this was my mom.
If those fears weren’t foreboding enough, the date of the surgery almost undid me. It was September 12, 2001. The day after the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers.
The morning of the surgery (the day after the terrorist attacks), I picked up mom and we made the 6am drive to the hospital in Redwood City. The sun was shining, but a cloud of anxiety overshadowed the country and my car. During the 40 minute drive, I tried keeping a brave face, “It’s a beautiful day, mom!” For mom’s sake, I tried smiling and remaining positive, “Everything is going to go well. You will be just fine.”
But inside, I was a mess.
As we arrived at the hospital and she filled out paper work – I took some deep breaths.
As she was prepped for surgery – I swallowed some lumps in my throat.
As they escorted me to the waiting room – I plotted to kidnap my own mother and take her home where she belongs.
During the long wait in the sterile white room, anxiety continued to build as I worried for mom, worried for the state of the country, and worried about the large Stake Relief Society event I had been in the process of organizing and speaking at (which was 2 days away).
While I waited, my eyes bounced from the ceiling-mounted television blaring current news footage of the disaster, to a blank notepad on my lap in desperate need of inspiration for my Relief Society talk. Neither had my full attention.
After several hours, a nurse came out to inform me that the surgery was taking longer than expected. “Longer than expected.” Not words a waiting room dweller wants to hear. That’s usually code for “Something went wrong,” “We’ve hit a few snags.”
I choked back tears and tried to sound composed, “Have there been complications?”
“I can’t tell you that,” she answered.
My heart sunk and my mind reeled at the implications. The nurse saw it on my face and suggested I get a late lunch and return in a couple of hours when she’d have more news. Who could eat at a time like this? But I knew a change in scenery would be good – so would some inspiration.
I went to my car, pulled out my scriptures, and meandered through the pages, allowing the Spirit to lead me to comfort. That’s when I saw the verse. It miraculously jumped off the page, catching my attention.
This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Reading it once wasn’t enough. I read it again to let the words sink in. God made this day. Ordained this hard hour. Designed the details of this wrenching moment. He has not left me alone. He has not left the country alone.
I set the scriptures down. It was calming. But the Lord wasn’t done. He wanted the words to sink in further.
Music to My Soul
As I sat in my parked car, eyes closed, I prayed, “Heavenly Father, how do I get through this?” I did not hear an answer, but I suddenly remembered a CD I purchased the week before and had not yet opened. Maybe some new music would be comforting. It was a Janice Kapp Perry CD with songs emphasizing President Hinckley’s 6 B’s.
I opened it, put it in the player, sat back in my seat, and listened. That’s when the Spirit broadsided me. The very verse I was led to read moments before was now PLAYING ON MY STEREO!
Stunned, I sat up and looked at the CD player as the chorus sang, “This is the day which the Lord hath made. I will rejoice. I will thank Him.” Unbelievable! Subtlety is sometimes overrated.
Seems Heaven was singing a message to me. Since my answer was unmistakable, I resolved at that moment to give the day a chance. Change my view, and imitate the resolve of the psalmist: “I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
I Will Rejoice and Be Glad In It
The second half of that verse has another word we’d like to edit, “I will rejoice and be glad in it.” “In,” hmm. We cannot possibly be glad IN the middle of a bad rotten day.
How about after the day?
Or, when we get through the day? That sounds do-able.
Or, better yet, over? I will be glad when the day is over!
Wouldn’t we opt for another preposition?
Not so fast. God invites us to rejoice in the day. And there are plenty of prophets who took God’s invitation.
Joseph Smith scribed stunning verses of faith in Liberty Jail
Paul wrote epistles of hope in prison
Nephi and Lehi rejoiced in chains
Jonah resolved to obey in the Whale
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego found Christ in the fiery furnace
Captain Moroni discovered his greatest courage in battle
Some pretty amazing stuff can emerge while in a blucky day. Could I rejoice smack-dab in the midst of this day? I gave it a shot.
I took a deep breath and faced the sterile waiting room with peaceful hope. It wasn’t long before the doctor came out and told me that mom’s surgery went well. She was fine. ICU would look after her for the rest of the evening and I could return in the morning. (This would actually be the first of three spinal surgeries my mom would have in the next several years). I was grateful for her safety.
Now I would drive home with the same hope for the country.
God Bless America
Despite the attacks and worry of terrorism’s wake, I would rejoice and be glad in this day. Instead of driving with eyes down and spirits low, I lifted both. And you know what I saw?
I saw flags hung on overpasses. Signs placed on fences, poles, and buildings. I saw images of patriotism. Unity. Resilience. Love. “God Bless America” was plastered everywhere as both a declaration and a prayer.
My drive was not overshadowed with darkness and despair. It was colored with Hope.
Because I chose to view this terrible day differently, I saw the blessings in it. I saw God’s hand in our country’s crisis. I heard Heaven sing in my mother’s ordeal. I felt His love in my worried heart. What a transformation!
Couldn’t we all attempt to rejoice in the midst of this day – or any day? Imagine the difference if we could.
You resolve to amplify gratitude
Point out the positive
Neutralize the negative
And, whadduhyaknow, before long the day is finished and surprisingly…good. So good, in fact, that you decide to try again the next day, and the next, and before you know it, you have created weeks, months, even years of some pretty awesome days.
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive,
to think, to enjoy, to love…”
This is how good lives are built – one gratitude-filled day at a time.
This is the day which the Lord hath made. What do you say we give each day a chance to be a Good Day by rejoicing and being glad in it. Today. Everyday. 🙂
Home Renovation Show Source:
Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines at Magnolia Farms
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