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O SON OF BEING! Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 11.
How do we find a way to make each day better than the last? If the soul measures not time, but progress, then reflecting on how each day went could help us make progress, little by little, day by day, action by reflection.
This daily reflection can help us each become our own best teachers, especially when we creatively carry out Baha’u’llah’s powerful advice in various ways.
Reading our mental diary, reflecting on today’s entry each night, can serve as our own sage advice, helping us decide what to do tomorrow. Each “daily note” can become a “note to self.” Instead of learning the lessons of life the hard way, we can each do it the easy way. The easy way may be the best way. The hard part? Making the easy way our routine.
This is not a sermon. I’m no cleric. (God forbid!) No priest, no pundit. No font of wisdom, no paragon of virtue. No great saint, nor great sage, nor orotund oracle. I disclaim any such claim. Yet let me share a meditation on meditating how each day went.
Today, October 11, is my birthday. Time to reflect on the past year. But I don’t do this just once a year. (Who can remember it all?) Instead, reckoning how each day went has become my nightly ritual. You see, as a Baha’i, I’ve learned to reflect, at night, on my daily actions and on their impact. I reflect on my progress (which is also the progress of my wife and sons), on the progress of my career, on the progress of the world within my reach, on the destiny of the world outside my reach.
Of course, some days work out better than others. I fall, I rise. I fail, I succeed. I dream, I try. I make mistakes. I try to make up for them, as best I can. Our goal, as individuals, means making each morrow more merit-worthy. That’s how Baha’u’llah’s pithy advice, quoted above, has regulated my life.
Last night, David Langness, illustrious editor of BahaiTeachings.org, e-mailed me to say how he got a nice letter — from a journalist in China — who says that he likes my work on BahaiTeachings.org, “especially when it tends toward the poetic.” We all know positive feedback, like that, encourages even better work.
My writing may wax poetic, from time to time, to amuse the Muse. Yet I haven’t written a poem in 40 years. But the journalist in China has inspired me to write a poem today. This piece is further inspired by the Hidden Word above, which has become my diurnal watchword:
Life in a Day
coffee drips, huffs and puffs,
sharp steam rises, perk whiffs beckon
time to rise, time to serve
wife bright-eyed, for morning news
woe and wail, world in travail
peace at home, business to tend
garbage empty, street rain-sleek
oak leaves gold, gilding the gutter
mystic routine, laptop powered
work ethic, excellence-crested
bright wife, keeps wolves at bay
manages affairs, home sweet home
sons home, advancing degrees
Columbo rerun, light talk
night is light, unity bright
a day of life, life in a day
time to rest, reckon how things went
today okay? tomorrow better?
ordinary day, extraordinary way
This poem illustrates my daily routine, for what it’s worth. The best that we each can do? Share our best thoughts, and then do our level best. We can enrich each other’s lives by comparing notes and striving not only to realize our dreams, but to fulfill our promises, meet our obligations, overcome our difficulties, count our blessings.
In Part II – A Way to Make Tomorrow Better
©2013 by Christopher Buck.