“Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” (Matthew 6:34)
In these times of the coronavirus pandemic, the scripture about not being anxious for tomorrow seems appropriate. The trouble it is causing is surly more than sufficient each day.
I am 78 years old, and catching the coronavirus could result in my death. So when I sensed something wrong with my health, the coronavirus came to mind. When I developed a fever, I self-isolated and called people who I had recent contact with to warn them. Then I faced my possible death. Then I decided that I had a bacterial infection, and antibiotics I took resolved my problem. But even though I do got better, I must still face the fact that my death is inevitable sometime in the future. Once you have stared death in the face, you must deal with it.
Perhaps to the surprise of some, the inevitability of my death does not bother me. I am completely at peace with the fact that I will surely die some day. As a Christian, I have nothing to fear from death, since I feel assured it is my gateway to heaven. In my funeral meditations, I have long pointed out that there is no reason to grieve for the person who has died, because they are now enjoying the eternal bliss of heaven. All their suffering is over forever.
But I also told the listeners that it is we who are left behind who suffer the loss of the person we love. It is we who are left behind on this earth who must grieve that loss. So although I am completely at peace concerning my own death, I am concerned about those who will mourn my loss. Thus, although I am at peace concerning my death, I will strive as hard as possible to live on as long as possible for the sake of the people who do not want to lose me. That is because I love them.
In a sense, it is the inevitability of my death that helps me feel at peace about it. It also makes me appreciate each moment of my life more, and how precious the people are who I love and am loved by. But I am also more aware and appreciative of things we may easily take for granted. I practice mindfulness, which means being fully mindful of everything I experience throughout the day, and thus living more fully in each moment of my day. When I look through my kitchen window in the morning at the total darkness, I find myself intrigued by seeing the world emerge slowly from the darkness as if it is being created anew in the dawning light. We had a lot of rain in April, so blue sky has been more appreciated because it has been so rare. I enjoy fully such pleasant moments.
But what if the moment is not pleasant? Then I think of people I love, and enjoy that lovely feeling. Or I turn my mind to pleasant memories of people and experiences from my past, and enjoy them. Our possible experience is not restricted to what is happening at the moment physically to us or around us.