Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Try to enjoy each day as it comes

MONDAY’S child is fair of face;
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

My mother was always quoting this old rhyme about the days of the week on which you were born and what that could mean but, needless to say, I was not terribly impressed!

Being born on a Thursday apparently meant that “I had far to go” which seemed to my younger self much too feeble and dull and I can remember thinking that only Wednesday’s child had a worse deal being “full of woe”.

Now that I am well past the age of retirement and with a distinct change in the volume and pace of work, I have been drawn to look back over my life and have discovered just how far I’ve come.

The journey, both outwardly and inwardly, has been truly remarkable and there is no way I could have ever envisaged being in this place at this time with so much experience behind me. What’s more, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything in spite of the complete mix of joy, challenge and pain.

What I have discovered is that every day of the week from the rhyme is important and everyone shares in each day’s prospect.

We are all great people travelling this earth together and although the life journey can be hard in so many ways and filled with a lot of woe, we have a loving God who is with us through it all, even though it doesn’t always feel like it.

Maybe as we get older, nearer the end of the week, is when we begin to understand what life is all about and perhaps this is what the rhyme is telling us. It’s a very useful exercise to make a timeline of your own life and to reflect on how you arrived at this time and place and what you have learned. It can be quite surprising and very therapeutic.

Richard Rohr, the American Franciscan monk, ordained priest and prolific writer, speaks of the “two halves of life”, the first being the one where we establish ourselves in the world and build our lives and the second being the growing awareness of another way of life where we begin to empty out the things we’ve “acquired” in order to find a new perspective and discover something about the real meaning of our lives.

This “second half” of life can occur at any time but the shift into it is almost always triggered by some form of suffering or tribulation which eventually helps us to be more self-aware and spiritually aware.

I am a great fan of Rohr’s writings as he has helped me to understand how I have grown in ways I wouldn’t have considered possible, that living is great and that I am less of a heretic than I thought! Now that has got to be good.

To be complete life’s journey has to consist of hills and troughs, easy times,
difficult and challenging times, but every day is important and necessary to our wholeness as human beings and, whoever we are, our every experience matters in the grand scheme of things.

We are all special, important and our presence is vital, wherever we may be, so perhaps we can resolve to enjoy each day as it comes, with whatever it may bring, on whichever day of the week were born!

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