“…if we could only get out of bed each morning realizing that today is a day not unlike those on which the greatest and most exciting events of history have taken place, that today represents another opportunity on the road to whatever greatness it is we seek.”
One Day At A Time
From notes of an audio essay by Earl Nightingale
One of the truly great and inspiring teachers was a man by the name of William Lyons Phelps. He was a professor at Yale University for about, oh I’d guess 40 years. He was also a literary critic and the author of a great many fine things. He was loved by everyone who knew him and he died in 1943 at the age of 78. I was poking around in my library looking for something worth sharing with you when I came across a little short thing that William Lyons Phelps had written called “One Day at a Time”. I think it’s terrific and it goes like this:
“We look backward too much and we look forward too much. Thus we miss the passing moment.
“The fear of life is the favorite disease of the 20th century. Too many people are afraid of tomorrow. Their happiness is poisoned by a phantom. Many are afraid of old age forgetting that even if they should lose their bodily vigor, weakness itself may minister to the development of the mind and spirit.
“In the words of the aged poet Waller, ‘The soul/s dark cottage, battered and decayed, let a new light through chinks that time has made. Stronger by weakness wise men become as they draw near to their eternal home.’
“Let the scientists worry about our origin,” he wrote, “Let the prophets worry about our future, the decline of Western civilization and whatnot. Some people are alarmed because in 9,000 billion years, the sun’s fuel may give out. Instead of chagrin over our past and alarm over our future, suppose we consider our opportunity.”
Listen to Emerson, “Write in on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. No Man has earned anything rightly until he knows that every day is doomsday. Today is a king in disguise. Today always looks mean to the thoughtless, in the face of a uniform experience that all good and great and happy actions are made up precisely of these blank today’s. Let us not be deceived. Let us unmask the king as he passes.'”
Well, I think Dr. Phelps with an assist from Emerson have well made a point worth making if we could only get out of bed each morning realizing that today is a day not unlike those on which the greatest and most exciting events of history have taken place, that today represents another opportunity on the road to whatever greatness it is we seek. And tha point worth making a point worth making a point worth making at finally, today will take its place as a single tile in the mosaic of our finished life – to either add to its beauty and harmony or detract from it. Or lose itself in an adult gray background of an uninteresting, unchallenged, undedicated existence, I particularly liked Emerson’s admonition to know that today could be the last – which makes it important. And that today is a king in disguise. Let us not be deceived. Let us unmask the king as he passes. And above all, don’t be frightened about tomorrow, but concern yourself with the eternal present.
A man named Richmond road. There is a time to be born in a time to die, says Solomon, and it’s the memento of a truly wise man, but there is an interval between these two times of infinite importance.