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Today: Not a dress rehearsal

Home Front: A busted pipe and soggy house are good reminders that we don’t know what tomorrow holds.

John and Kendra Smiley

February 27, 2019

3 Min Read
father and son standing in field

If you were to call our landline and get the answering machine, you’d hear a message confirming you had called the correct number, asking you to leave your name and number, and encouraging you to “Enjoy today! This is not a dress rehearsal.”

When I recorded that message years ago, I had no idea where I’d first heard those words. All I knew was there were times I needed the reminder to enjoy the present day.

Doing just that, enjoying today, isn’t always easy, especially when you’re in the midst of the planting season. I could make a list of things I’ve allowed to rob me of my joy in the past — things like a broken hydraulic line, a monitor that refused to work correctly, or a tractor that continually presented a problem (or two). 

The key is the word “allowed.” The day I allowed the hydraulic line, the monitor, the problem tractor or any other annoyance to make me grumpy or angry was a day I allowed circumstances to rob me of my joy.

And it’s not just circumstances surrounding planting or harvest that can rob you of joy. I came face to face with a joy-robber this past February.

It all began with a trip to Iowa to help our youngest son. His wife was going to be gone for a few days, and we were asked to fill the gap with their three preschoolers, an invitation we readily accepted.

The visit was fun and exhausting, and after four days, we headed home. As we got closer to our destination, we began to talk about how nice it would be to put our feet up and to sleep in our own bed that night. It was great to spend time with the grandkids, but home-sweet-home was looking pretty good.

It was “looking good” until I opened the front door, heard running water and saw soaked plaster. While we were gone, a water pipe had frozen and broken upstairs. That meant water damage all the way to the basement.

The remainder of that day and the next was spent mopping floors, laying beach towels on the soggy carpet while others were in the dryer, meeting folks from ServiceMaster who assessed the damage and placed dehydrators and fans around our home, welcoming the folks who checked our furnace, and connecting with our insurance agent.

“Enjoy today! This is not a dress rehearsal.” I’ll be the first to admit I was having trouble enjoying those days of dehydration: drying out the carpet, the walls and our lungs. Too often I found myself wishing tomorrow would arrive. Surely tomorrow would have fewer stresses, fewer responsibilities, fewer annoyances. What a foolish thought! 

No one knows what tomorrow will bring. Oops! Let me make a correction by quoting the words of a song. “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.”

Since you and I don’t know about tomorrow, the challenge remains to trust the One who does and to enjoy today. After all, this is not a dress rehearsal.

John and Kendra Smiley farm near East Lynn, Ill. Email [email protected], or visit kendrasmiley.com.

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