Don’t worry about tomorrow. Instead today tell someone you love them; ask someone to forgive you, say I am sorry and above all say thank you. For in those simple acts, you will find wisdom.
-Br. James Koester
Erykah Badu – Today
Notice the ways Br. James suggests we free ourselves from worry in this meditation; express love, ask for forgiveness, express gratitude. Each of these three things have something in common – vulnerability. Expressing love puts us out on a limb because there is always the risk that the love will not be returned. Asking forgiveness may be the most blatantly difficult and humbling suggestion of the three. Fittingly, because it is so difficult to do, it arguably offers the greatest reward. That being not only the forgiveness itself, but the lifting of the weight of the burden of having wounded someone in some way. If the forgiveness is not granted, we are nevertheless lightened and freed to a large degree. Interesting….forgiveness is so central to Christianity. Juxtaposing whether forgiveness is granted has never occurred to me before. It’s like Christ understands this, our natures – asking for forgiveness is so incredibly difficult, the act of forgiveness is almost an afterthought in a sense – meaning for the one asking, the release comes in that humbling admission of wrongdoing, the willing entry into a state of vulnerability and acknowledgement that what we did hurt someone. How could God possibly decline or withhold forgiveness? Other people, they may withhold. That may be the scar that lingers from our actions. But I suspect, even in such a case, the fact someone owns up to the injury, acknowledges it and ask for forgiveness – that is a comfort to the wounded party. And even gratitude makes us vulnerable. Gratitude implicitly suggests we are not all-powerful, we are not the center of the world. We are fortunate. And gratitude brings us fully into the present. Now. Today. It makes us aware of all that we DO have. It reveals the possibility of the moment. Erykah Badu ties all of these ideas into one glorious musical bond. Her dazzling vocal style belies a certain weariness. This is no sheltered woman. She has seen and experienced life. And yet while her voice can magnificently convey pain or struggle, it never succumbs. Her voice and her vocal stylings always abound with lightness and hope. The other side of that equation of weariness and hope is strength. The power in her artistry is borne out of vulnerabilities and her recognition of them, not her denial or fleeing from them. And so I try to take this lesson today and wrap it in the majestic buoyancy of Ms. Badu and live fully and courageously today. Now today.