A gentleman in his 80th decade walks down the corridor. As we pass he pauses.
“A good afternoon to you,” he says.
“How are you doing today?” I ask, going against my personal vow to avoid trite social questions.
“This the best day of my life,” he responds.
I didn’t ask what made this a grand day. His response could have been either cynical or deeply meaningful. Not knowing the man well enough to probe, I smile and continue on my way.
Ze hayom, a Hebrew phrase meaning “this is the day,” opens Psalm 118:24. What day? Asah Adonai. The day that the Creator has created. So what? Negilah v’nismacha bo. So, we are to rejoice and be glad in it. End of story. Just do it.
Once upon a time, I called my mom, who is no more in this life, to complain, “I am having the worst day ever.”
Her response? “Well, Gail, if this is the worst day ever, then tomorrow has to be a better day. Right?”
But was it the worst day? That have certainly been some dillies since. Did that day, with its unremembered challenges, teach me something important? Are there really “good” days and “bad” days? Who are we to judge?
I am sitting at a desk in Minneapolis, looking out a window as snowflakes pass by on a 45 degree trajectory from the south. A man with a COVID mask hanging from one ear walks by accompanied a high-stepping maple brown poodle. They walk under a leafless ash tree, its twigs swaying in a light breeze. Earlier, on a brisk morning walk (3 degrees F), I watched a pair of hunting coyotes, on the lookout for bunnies or rodents. Then I spotted an albino squirrel on a tree, which despite the presence of my dog, stayed still long enough for me to dig my phone out and take a photo.
This is the day. The only day. This is the moment. The only moment. As I write this, as you read this, the moment is here, then the moment passes. We awake, we sleep, we dream, on and on, the days pass.