The sun sets behind a few trees and below a cloud.
The end of the day. Photo courtesy of Lester Hine / Unsplash.

A lot of us have put off until tomorrow what we should have done today, and we suffer from the aftermath of having done such. For some reason, we conjure in our minds that we got time while not realizing our time is running out.

We have done this and we have done that, but didn’t get to where we wanted to be. So we think, “Well, maybe if we do it this way as opposed to the other way, things may go in our favor.” Or, “maybe if I do a little less than what I have been doing, maybe that will turn out for my good. Well, no, I got it now. If I get around good, God-fearing people and people who are doing the right thing, maybe I will become better.”

I’ve heard it said other people can see you oftentimes better than you can see yourself. I have to disagree, because who knows you better than you? You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you definitely can’t fool yourself and God none of the time.

There are times when we think we have gotten away with something when in actuality we have only gotten by. Because eventually the thing in which we erred will come back and bite us on the butt. Therefore, we must strive to do and to be the best us we can be because life does have a strange way of showing up unwarranted. 

There is no new thing under the sun. If we did it, someone else has already done it even more. We are not unique. The rain falls on the just as well as the unjust. The conclusion is, what are we going to do now that our coattail has been pulled?

It’s not such a bad thing when we have been exposed for it is now unhidden, where we can do something about it and arrest that demonic spirit that thrives on our excuse-making. We have to nip it in the bud and kill it at the root.

God has kept many of us safe through dangers seen and unseen and we are still here. We should honor and praise God for not allowing us to be taken out during some of our riotous living and exploits. We’ve been blessed by God and we need to not only start acting like it but also start living like we are grateful by taking care of ourselves and our health, as well as lending a helping hand to those who are less fortunate.

Many of us were dying and dead in our trespasses until now and I know we are grateful for where God has brought us from and where He is taking us to. This is how we give back for God bringing us through our “wilderness experience” in these streets! By assisting another suffering, hurting person who has a need, whether it be socially, psychologically, financial, and most of all, spiritually. We live in perilous times, so we need each other even more.

Our mindset should no longer only be “I” and “me” but “we” and “us.” A three-cord strand is not easily broken! We can do more together than as single units. It’s alright that we recognize the COVID-19 pandemic and act accordingly by wearing our own PPE to protect those around us. But lest we forget, there is also an epidemic on the rise of drug and alcohol abuse that’s taking our people out in alarming numbers from our neighborhoods and our communities.

There is a poem many of us may have had on a wall somewhere in our houses while growing up. It was written by parent, educator and family counselor Dorothy Law Nolte. She copyrighted it in 1972, but I believe it is just as appropriate for the right here and now:

 

Children Learn What They Live

by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

 

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

 

These are simple lessons to which we as God’s children need to adhere and re-learn if we are to be successful, productive citizens of society. Many of us have recently emerged from homelessness and poverty and have been given the opportunity to start anew.

Novelist Bernard Malamud wrote, “We have two lives… the life we learn with and the life we live after that. Suffering is what brings us towards happiness.” We need structure in order not to face destruction. Without structure, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes that made us homeless in the first place. 

We have come too far and been through too much to turn back now. We are not alone, we are in this struggle together and we need to recognize that some things we cannot do on our own. We have a higher power, God, who intercedes on our behalf and places ordinary people in positions to help us do ordinary things in whatever situation or circumstance we might find ourselves. There is a force in the earth realm, an evil force, that longs to bring about our demise. But “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

I leave you with this powerful prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”


Reginald Denny is an artist and vendor with Street Sense.