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I Won’t Waste One More Today Waiting For a Better Tomorrow
Edward A. Pane, LCSW, MBA, CAADA

Ed Pane

My Blog

She had been through a lot in her life. Growing up was difficult much of the time. She learned not to get her hopes up; that way she wouldn’t be disappointed when something went wrong. Trust was a big issue. After many broken promises, it wasn’t safe to believe in promises.

She was in counseling because a promise she did hope in had been broken. She was hurt, but also chided herself for having risked hoping again. But there was more to it.

The rule “Don’t get your hopes up so you won’t be disappointed” wasn’t working this time. The rule that once protected her as a child and teen wasn’t a good fit for a wife and mother. She needed a new rule, one that fit the woman she was to replace that of the girl she used to be. But that meant risking disappointment and hurt again.

As we explored her life she understood why the old rule, never get your hopes up, was necessary when she was younger. But today it was suffocating; it didn’t fit who she wanted to be now.

How do you not hope, pray and work for a loving future for your children? How do you share in the emotional and spiritual intimacy of marriage if you’re constantly on guard, waiting for the mistake that will destroy it?

The mist of childhood through which she saw her world gradually lifted. And when it did she said one of the most beautiful phrases I’ve ever heard; the one that started this piece.

“I won’t waste one more today waiting for a better tomorrow.”

I’ve spent months plumbing the depth of those words. There is so much wisdom and so great a challenge in them I suspect I’ll never fully reach the bottom.

Her words challenged her. If she would experience true joy she had to stop playing life emotionally safe; risk hurt from time to time. She would survive. To remain where it was comfortable meant a life half lived. One where she would “laugh, but not all her laughter, and cry, but not all her tears.” She would know the shadows of love and joy, but never the vivid colors of either. The same is true for each of us who lose today waiting for a better tomorrow.

Now is the only reality we will ever have. And we will miss its miracle if we stare outward, waiting for something better to reveal itself through the mist. We will wait for something that won’t ever arrive because if something does appear we’ll wonder if there is something better still and squint tighter trying to see through the fog. Meanwhile, we we’re missing the joy and freedom of today.

There are about 500 words in this piece, but they don’t capture the simple wisdom of what she said in those few words.

“I won’t waste one more today waiting for a better tomorrow.”