This Is the Day
Imagine waking up each day fueled by a whisper: “This is the day.” A day for what? you wonder. A day for change. A day that can be different, better than yesterday. A day that, even in the revolving door of responsibilities and to-dos, can be filled with more purpose and passion than you think possible.
Imagine when hearing the sound of the morning alarm, instead of groaning or slapping the snooze button, you awaken—mind, heart, and soul—to possibility. Something better. Something more.
You open your eyes, and before your feet hit the ground running, you pause. You choose not to be ruled by the tune of just getting by, not to allow what really matters to get swallowed up by the daily grind, and not to ignore what you really want out of life.
When I was a kid, my parents each had a unique way of waking up my siblings and me. The difference between Mom doing it and Dad doing it was pretty drastic. Mom would swing my bedroom door wide open and in her sweet voice sing the song based on Psalm 118:24: “This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (If you went to church as a kid, you might remember singing this song). Dad did things a little differently. He would rush in and shout in a deep voice, “Here we go! Are you alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic?”
Differences aside, my parents made clear that this was the day to get out of bed and make it count.
This is the day that God has made. This day. Right now. Whatever moment you are breathing in, God made this day. Even when times are tough, something about this day is good. There’s always a reason, however small, to find joy in this day. Sometimes we have to choose to look for it. Sometimes we have to ask God to help us find it.
God gives us today as a gift. He wants us to pursue it, not just for selfish ambition but to do something meaningful with it. To use it to grow, to love others well, to help someone, to pursue a dream He’s put on our hearts. This is the day to live without fear of the unknown, without being chained by failure or what-ifs. This is the day to be willing to change, to be open, to believe, to hope. If we don’t attack each day with this intentionality, it’s almost like telling God, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
How different would your day be if you lived out the words of Psalm 118:24? Think about it; really think about it.
Is there something you would change?
Is there someone you would reach out to?
Is there something you would need to give?
Is there something you would need to let go of?
I’m not saying putting this into practice is easy. Hard times are inevitable. Obstacles will come. Some battles are harder to fight than others. You may get knocked down, but you don’t have to stay there. Each day you wake up, you have a chance to get unstuck, to step out of a comfortable routine that may be limiting your potential, and to fight for something that’s important.
You were made not just to survive today but to thrive in it. I want to encourage you to stop putting off your dreams, your goals, and the purpose God has for you. It’s time to become the person He has created you to be.
I wrote this book to get you to start thinking about what you can do, beginning today, to make a change. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Something as simple as recognizing divine moments, choosing to believe God over your doubts, taking action instead of complaining, and just opening your eyes and paying attention can impact your life and others’ lives in powerful ways.
It’s never too late. You’re not too young. You’re not too old. You can have purpose not only in your life but also in this day. There is always something you can do right now to improve yourself, to make an impact on someone or something else, or to create or enjoy a meaningful moment. Challenge yourself right now to begin to think about each day as an opportunity to crush it, to pursue the right things, to gain a better perspective, to step out of your comfort zone, and to go all in.
Whether you’re a college grad needing the push to create and attack your five-year plan, a thirtysomething stuck in a job you hate, a single mom or dad struggling to get by and lacking joy, a career man or woman who feels a bit stuck, or an empty nester wondering what on earth you’re going to do with your life, you can use the principles I offer in this book. It’s time to uncover your God-given potential and start really living.
This is the day you can switch off autopilot and begin living with passion.
This is the day you can see what God sees.
This is the day you can overcome a bad habit or a character flaw.
This is the day that can bring you a step closer to your dreams and goals.
This is the day you can fight for what’s right.
This is the day you can change someone’s life for the better.
This is the day you can change your own life.
Life isn’t just about one day. It’s about this day.
This Is the Day to Say “I Love You”
What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love!
Clear blue skies to my left, the same on my right. I’m comfortable, planted on my seat watching a good movie. Like me, other passengers nearby are in their own worlds. Some are taking a nap. Others are glued to their electronic devices, fingers tapping rhythmically across keyboards.
And though I’m engrossed in the dramatic fight scene unfolding on my screen, I sense something. An inexplicable heaviness weighs down my heart.
A flight attendant stops to my right. “Can I get you something to drink, sir?” she asks with a smile.
I pull my headphones off. “No thank you, ma’am.” Before I can park them back on my head, I hear commotion brewing in the background. I look back. Passengers are stirring in their seats, turning their heads to get a better view of something happening behind them. Loud gasps and concerned whispers explode. With a little over an hour of flight left before we’re scheduled to land in Phoenix, Arizona, something potentially serious is unfolding.
About twenty-plus rows back, cabin crew members scurry about. As curious passengers start to stand up and lean over their rows, a flight attendant barks, “We need everyone to please stay seated. The aisles must be clear. I repeat, please remain seated.”
There’s too much commotion to figure out exactly what’s going on. In the thick of the anxious buzz, I hear someone call out, “Does anyone have an EpiPen?” as a flight attendant charges down the aisle toward the front of the plane.
A part of me feels drawn to the scene. Maybe I can help. Maybe I can do something. But I ignore the pull and put my headphones back on. Someone probably had an allergic reaction or got sick or something. I don’t want to be nosy. I’ll let the flight attendants do their job.
God nudges my heart. I can’t escape the silent words that scream inside me. You need to do something!
Immediately, my mind spins with excuses for the next three seconds. I’m really into this movie. And what can I do anyway? If I walk back there, I’ll probably be more of a distraction than a help. I think of more reasons to stay put. And do nothing.
Then a flight attendant appears in our cabin. “Is anyone here a doctor?” She looks calm, but the tone in her voice betrays alarm. When the passengers around me shake their heads, she hurries toward the back of the plane. I look at the people around me. Panic lines their faces. Concerned voices whisper back and forth.
“Why does she need a doctor?”
“Is someone hurt?”
My heart feels like lead. I’m totally unsettled now. I look back again and see a woman crying uncontrollably. There’s movement in the aisle. But between flight attendants and a passenger or two doing something I can’t quite make out, I still don’t have a clue what’s going on. The feeling of urgency is overwhelming. I can’t just sit here and watch.
I stand up and walk toward the nearest flight attendant. “Excuse me, ma’am. I don’t know what’s going on back there. Is there anything I can do to help? Or maybe the woman back there, the one who’s crying, maybe she would like me to pray with her?” Nodding, she forces a polite smile. I watch her leave. But she doesn’t say a word to the woman who is obviously very upset.
I get the attention of another flight attendant and ask her the same thing. “Excuse me. I don’t mean to bother you. But would you mind asking the woman back there if she’d like me to pray with her or encourage her or something?”
“Of course I will,” she says.
A minute later, that flight attendant waves me over. As I make my way near the scene, I can see the soles of a man’s shoes pointing toward the ceiling of the plane. He’s lying prostrate in the aisle, not moving. A handful of people awkwardly positioned in the narrow space tower above the man. One of them is grasping his hand. “Sir, can you hear me? Squeeze my hand if you can hear me.”
I notice a boy not far from the scene. Nine, maybe ten years old. I remember him passing me on the plane earlier. He was so excited to see me and wanted to say hello. The kid, now with eyes wide and tinged with fear, stares at the man on the floor. His dad is trying to cover his son’s eyes.
My stomach churns. Man. This kid does not need to see this.
The obviously ill man’s eyes are half open. Then they’re closed and he looks to be unconscious. He’s been stripped of some of his clothing, and blood drips down the side of his mouth. A female passenger kneels over him, pumping his chest with her bare hands. Looking for signs of life.
Just before I reach the inconsolable woman, she and a woman seated next to her lunge toward me, arms outstretched. Overcome with grief, the first woman doesn’t say a word. She just slumps against my chest and cries. Teary eyed, the woman beside her whispers to me, “I’ve run out of words. You pray.”
I wrap my arms around both women, who bury their faces in my shoulders. And as flight attendants hustle up and down the aisle and a passenger continues to perform CPR on the man on the floor, I pray. I pray for God’s hand of mercy to cover him. I pray for a wall of protection over him. I pray for a miracle.
After I pray, the women tell me their names. Debbie is the wife of Boots, the sick man she thinks has gone into cardiac arrest. They’ve been married more than nineteen years. Karen, the woman with Debbie, is a coworker. Both hail from South Carolina. The three of us talk a bit before tears fall again.
“Boots was fine up until the last hour,” Debbie says while trying to stifle a sob. “I could just tell something was wrong. I asked him if he wanted water or something, but he said no. Then he just stopped breathing.” She shakes her head, unable to speak. Her shoulders tremble as she weeps. Karen and I pray while Debbie cries. It’s a cycle we repeat many times over the final hour of flight. Talk. Pray. Cry. Talk. Pray. Cry.
At some point, someone suddenly yells, “Stand clear!” The paddles of a defibrillator slap down on Boot’s bare chest. He bucks violently and thuds back on the ground, motionless.
“Nothing,” the person holding the paddles mutters. “Again.”
The defibrillator discharges and the body heaves. “I think I got a pulse!”
With so much crying and praying and chaos, I barely feel the wheels touch down on the tarmac. The hour I was with Debbie flew by in what felt like minutes. As we descend toward the runway, I hold Debbie and Karen tight.
Approaching sirens wail as we taxi. As the passengers disembark the plane in haste, flight attendants quickly scramble to evacuate Boots out the rear of the plane. Someone tells me I can’t stay with Debbie and must go. As I leave, she tries to squeeze her way into the aisle between flight attendants so she can accompany her husband in the ambulance that’s just arrived. “No,” Debbie is told. “I’m sorry, but you can’t go out this way. You must exit the plane out the front. It’s standard procedure.”
We all deplane and soon after I meet up with Debbie and Karen. I offer to take them to the car that’s waiting for me and to find their checked luggage. Debbie clutches her handbag with trembling hands and can barely stand. She tries to explain what her suitcase looks like. I slide an arm around Debbie’s waist to support her, while still holding on to her husband’s blood-stained clothing, everyone’s carry-on bags by my feet. Lost in a world that has just fallen apart, Debbie clings to the words I think I got a pulse.
The next hour or two are a blur. A police officer, who looks like he’s seen plenty of hard years on the job, tells me which hospital they’re taking Boots to. He offers to escort us there. With all our luggage finally in hand, Debbie, Karen, and I drive off. We race down the highway, the ride filled with tears and hopeful prayers. After navigating our way to the emergency room and parking right behind the police officer’s car with flashing lights, we are directed into a room to wait. More tears. More prayers. Finally, a doctor enters and says to Debbie, “I’m sorry for your loss.”
Debbie turns white. She hadn’t realized her husband had actually died. Hearing the painful truth unsteadies her balance. Her knees buckle and she crashes into my arms. The cop shakes his head and rests his hand on her shoulder. He whispers, “I am so sorry your husband passed.” I’ll never forget his kindness. He stayed with us for hours afterward, even while I accompanied Debbie to identify her husband’s body in another cold hospital room.
It’s tough to witness someone’s world collapse before her eyes. And, telling. These moments, shocking, heart breaking, and gut wrenching, remind me that life is fragile. And it can be cut tragically short. We don’t know how much time we have on earth. We don’t know how many days we have to spend with loved ones, to say what we want to say, to show our appreciation, to make sure they know we love them.