Monday, October 17, 2011

‘Tomorrow We Could Be Yesterday’

In a recent episode of the TV legal drama, “Harry’s Law,” defense attorney Tommy Jefferson, recognizing the best days of his career will soon be past, makes this observation to a colleague: “Savor the moment…for tomorrow we could be yesterday.”

On Sunday, those words from a fictional character seemed astute in light of the death of Indy Car race driver Dan Wheldon in a horrific crash just 12 laps into a race in Las Vegas.

At age 33, married and the father of two young sons, Wheldon seemed to have everything anyone could want. Already a two-time winner of the famed Indianapolis 500, it appeared a wonderful future awaited him. But screeching tires, grinding metal and fire ended it abruptly.

It served as a grim reminder of the adage that urges us to “stop and smell the roses.” Because those roses – and the special, unique episodes we encounter in life – fade all too quickly, never to be recovered.

Too often, even early in my seventh decade, I still get consumed by tasks and deadlines, failing to pause and appreciate the wonder and beauty of an instant – a grandchild’s giggle, a brilliant sunrise, quiet times with my wife.

That’s probably why the Bible urges us to cherish the majesty of the moment. It says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). It also talks of “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). Or as another translation expresses it, “making the most of every opportunity….”

Wheldon’s death hearkens to that of NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt during the Daytona 500 in 2001. Earnhardt was far more famous, but Wheldon’s passing is no less tragic – or any less cautionary for everyone that awoke this morning to take another breath.

Many of us seem in such a great hurry. If we’re honest, we’re not always certain of our destination, but we’re getting there fast! Coursing through life at such a pace, do we ever consider what we might be missing along the way?

Instead of always peering into the future, striving for things just beyond our grasp, maybe we should listen to Tommy Jefferson and “savor the moment…for tomorrow we could be yesterday.”

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