Recently, I came across this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote:
“One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on you heart that everyday is the best day in the year. No man has learned anything rightly until he knows that every day is doomsday.”
Previously, I had seen the pretty portion of this quote, Write it on your heart that everyday is the best day in the year. I even used it on our holiday card. Friends and loved ones knew that it had special meaning to our family. We had recently struggled with life-threatening health issues and knew first hand not to take a day for granted. However, I had never seen the more, shall we say, dramatic part of the quote. Afterall, who says “doomsday” anymore without someone thinking you are a bit paranoid?
Isn’t it interesting that we tend to pluck the beautiful aspects of life out and plaster them all over greeting cards, instagram, Facebook, even t-shirts? We idolize perfection and beauty at all costs.
We show the beautiful. . .
and hide the messy.
We celebrate accomplishments. . .
and down play the struggles, the failings, the work it took to succeed.
We hide our own failures with shame. . .
while reveling in other’s falling from grace.
We celebrate birth, as we should and post perfectly staged pictures of our kids . . .
and down play the scars, sleepless nights, and challenges of raising children.
We shun illness, struggle and death, hiding the process from our view. . .
instead of celebrating the beauty that it births.
Although I had not known the entirety of this quote, I felt most vividly it’s intention and message. I learned that deep beauty and love comes from the uglier side of life, the struggles and the challenges. I learned that people I barely knew would pray with me, care for my child, send messages of love and support and cook meals for our family. I learned indeed, that the present hour is the critical hour, that beauty comes in many forms, that there is indeed perfection in the imperfection of life.
I know rightly that everyday is doomsday. That my life exists soley in the present moment. And that sometimes, the most beautiful things in life aren’t pretty.
Be present. Embrace the struggle. Keep practicing.