“This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.” ~Psalm 118 24
I hate going to the dentist. That’s not a reflection on any dentist, that’s me. I’ve gotten better over the years, but to this day I reluctantly make the appointment, dread the encounter as the day approaches and finally go. I get my teeth taken care of, usually just a cleaning and check–up, earn a reprieve for another six months, and I am grateful for the dentist and his staff who pamper me and do what I can’t do for myself.
This year we celebrate the life and legacy of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. by recalling his life among us, and its tragic ending 50 years ago this week. I could never do justice to his story by trying to retell it here, and I don’t think it is necessary—we all know the story. As much as Dr. King talked of the Promised Land, I believe he was totally in the present moment urging his fellow demonstrators on, proclaiming non-violence today despite the violence and lack of justice surrounding him and his followers at that moment.
You’d think that my dentist experience, and with the great examples of men like Dr. King, Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus, I would have learned by now; I haven’t, though. I still slip into worry about the future. I still wonder if life is really a gift. I still worry about tomorrow.
Maybe if I truly pray the above psalm verse I will do better. Maybe I can learn to truly believe in Easter, the Resurrection and life, not only life ever after, but also life today. I think I’ll try that, hoping to live a life of thanks and praise to the God of life, the God who gives me this day.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.