Four years ago, when our granddaughter Lauren was nine, we were driving to a soccer tournament when she asked, from the backseat, if we wanted to use her “future telling app”. Of course, we said yes. After all, who can resist a future telling app?
Lauren proceeded to ask for dates in the future. We chose Larry’s birthday in the year 2030. She said, “There’s a giant birthday cake on that day”. Next, we chose my birthday, in a year in the distant future. “Fifty birthday presents, Nana, that’s what’s on your birthday!”, she said. We played the game for a while and then she finally said, “you know it’s not really a future telling app—it’s just my phone calendar. We’re picking dates in the future, and I’m writing stuff that I want to happen on those days”.
If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you probably know that I think Lauren is amazing. That’s confirmed for me regularly when she dreams up things like this. The trust in the future that she carries in her heart still blows me away regularly (even though she’s considerably more grown-up now).
So, let’s think about Lauren’s “Future Telling App”.
What if you actually start putting things that you’d like to occur on your calendar?
• a memo on June 1, 2019, that says, “Today is going to be a blessed day”
• a note on November 15, 2020, with a message that pops up announcing “This week will bring a lot of joy”
• a reminder on January 3, 2021, that “You are an amazing and beautiful spirit”
How different could your day be if the first thing you read is something uplifting and positive?
We get lost, too often, in all the “bad” stuff: the work day that didn’t go well, the frustrations of trying to manage too much, the relationship that fell apart, the disagreement with a family member or friend, the disappointments of the day we’re in. Then, as we become sad, upset or angry, we share our cris de cœur adding more fuel to the fire (thoughts become words, words become action), and can get to the point where we give up believing that we can create a different future.
Last week, a friend and I were talking about her habit of watching breaking news as soon as she gets up each morning. There are a lot of people who start their days that way, and much what we’re seeing and hearing is incredibly sad or frightening, making us feel powerless. I understand completely the desire to be aware—and didn’t propose that she “bury her head in the sand”—but suggested that she begin her day in a less jarring way and move onto the “news of the day” a bit later.
Each day we get to “start anew”—to write the story of what we’d like to experience that day. Of course, there will be things that happen that we can’t control or change. Of course, we’ll experience sadness and pain. Of course, we’ll sometimes (maybe for many, often) find ourselves in places that we don’t want to be. I’m not saying that real life, for most people, will always be ideal, fulfilling or easy. What I am suggesting is that we schedule some positive into our days.
One definition of the word “application” (which is often shortened to “app”) is “the special use or purpose to which something is put”. What if we use (on purpose) our days in ways that celebrate our lives and bring joy to us and to those we love?
In 1931 a praise hymn called “Morning Has Broken” was written by Eleanor Farjeon. The words are few but beautiful:
Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s re-creation of the new day
I know there are times when it’s tough to wake up and feel like it’s “the first morning”, see the “rain’s new fall” as a positive, or open our eyes and “praise every morning”. But what if we could?
What if we literally write into our calendars beautiful experiences that we want to have?
What if we make room for the wonders of life?
What if we re-create each day?
What if we choose to live each day honoring and fulfilling our obligations as the responsible people we are?
What if we have faith in the ability to enjoy our lives, like a beautiful girl who believes in a future with a story told of joy?
What if we plug in our “future telling app”?