You Don’t Have to Wait to Be OK


“The sun will come out tomorrow…bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun….just thinking about tomorrow clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow ’til there’s none…when I think of a day that’s grey and lonely…I just pick up my chin and grin and say…tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow…you’re only a day away.” 
 
~ Annie

The Truth About Tomorrow

This song, well-known and familiar, does a wonderful job of extolling the hope that exists for a brighter future.  There is nothing wrong with planning for a better future.  Who would not be enthralled with the thought of a never ending string of sun adorned tomorrows?

sun shine and happiness

No matter where you are in life look for the bright spots in your life now.  Happiness is not some event in the distant future it is found today.  

However, between the lines of these lyrics is the unwritten implication that things cannot be okay today and that we have to wait until tomorrow.  The fact remains that while Annie is singing this song, longing for a future event to be happy, the sun is presently shining and showering the earth with its life-sustaining energy.  She apparently is not able to see the sun in her life this day, and anticipates its future arrival with an accompanied promise of redemption.

We should not mistake not being able to see the sun with it not existing in the present moment.  Annie made the mistake of giving her power away, believing that she is beholden to and dependent on, a future event over which she has no influence in order for things to be okay.

She appears to have forsaken the power of now. The fact remains that while we may be having a rough day, the present moment of today is the only place we can do something about it.  Today will always hold and provide the opportunity and promise for change if we choose to embrace it.

How often do we sing our own version of Annie’s song, “Tomorrow”?

  • Tomorrow I will…,
  • I cannot until tomorrow…,
  • when…,
  • then…,
  • I will do it tomorrow…,
  • I cannot today…,
  • I will be happy when…, etc.

Perhaps Garth Brook’s song “If Tomorrow Never Comes” (which is a song about embracing opportunities today) is the antithesis to Annie’s wish for tomorrow.  I can picture him singing this to Annie in response to her innocent pleadings for tomorrow.

 

Re-learning The Lesson of the Present Moment

Despite teaching this principle to my clients on an almost daily basis, it was not long ago that a dear friend and mentor needed to remind me of the truthfulness of this principle.  I had allowed myself to get sucked into the untruth of thinking and believing that until I reached my own tomorrow I was doomed to be unhappy with a certain circumstance.  Lovingly, my friend called me out on how I was refusing to believe that I could be okay now without having to wait for a future event.

My family was considering putting the family dog down.  Over the dog’s last year of life, I had come to accept that this needed to be done in order to avoid additional health related complications.  Though I loved her and was deeply saddened by the thought of her passing, I admit that I was looking forward to certain aspects of no longer having to care for a pet.

procrastinate

We must chose to re-learn the lesson of the present moment every day. Living in the present is an active choice that must be made over and over again.

These aspects included not having to find someone to watch the dog whenever we went away, and, more significantly, having a house free from dog hair. This was my pet peeve, pun intended.

My wife and children did not share these concerns and wanted to get a new puppy.  After much debate, a new dog was added to the family.  I openly resented this decision and only reluctantly agreed on the grounds that my one vote against getting a new dog didn’t outweigh the other three family votes.

I happened to be at a lunch meeting with my friend a few weeks after the new puppy was purchased. I was very eager to let her know how I could not stand the thought of having a dog-hair-infested-home again for the next fourteen years, as well as picking up dog poo before mowing, and having to find dog-sitters whenever we went away.

Never mind singing a song about tomorrow. I was doing a Broadway caliber operatic performance that was bound to have an unbroken fourteen year run – with free entry to anyone who would listen.

This friend listened graciously and allowed me to tell my story freely.  I actually thought that I was going to feel some validation, because I was not getting any at home specific to this issue.  Alas, when the curtain was drawn and the encore was completed, there was no standing ovation.

My friend simply asked, “So, you are going to wait fourteen years to be okay?”  Talk about a reality check.  I needed to hear that as bluntly as it was put.  It hit home like Babe Ruth at bat in Yankee Stadium.

I needed and appreciated what my friend said. I resolved that day to accept what was and realized that despite the things I was so hung up on I could be happy in my home that day.  No matter how much I resented what having a dog meant to me, the fact remained that there was a dog in my home.

I also realized that I was not seeing the dog for what he was.  I was only seeing the side effects of having a dog; accepting the fact that there was a dog in the home allowed me to open myself up to accepting the dog.  Once I allowed myself to accept the dog, I allowed myself to begin loving the dog.  When I began loving the dog I noticed how much my family loves the dog.

My children are besotted with him.  Right now, as I sit and write, they are laying on the floor playing with him.  My daughter writes odes to him and makes up songs about him.  I see how they are learning about love from him.

Who knew he would have taught me so much about what I thought I already knew, but was choosing to refuse.

Today is your day to be okay.

 

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Stuart Harper, LCSW, RPT-S; Lead Writer at Empowered Life Solutions

“Every life has a purpose our mission is to help you find yours.”

Related Reading

Bienkowski. A. (2010) One Life to Give: A Path to Finding Yourself by Helping Others

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