Many of my heroes as a child and young person were from the world of sport. One of them was also a poet, John Snow, the Sussex and England cricketer. Thirty plus years on I can still remember the beginning of the first poem of his I ever read called The Lord’s Test:
Tomorrow starts the night before
lying looking through the blackness
wondering about the hidden day
’til falling forward trackless
unknowing down the slope,
you’re sitting in it,
you and hope…
This poem resonates with me so much as I have often had concerns about tomorrow, the night before. Usually without any real reason, most of my days don’t hold anything scarier than teaching, meetings, church or study which are nothing compared with the challenges faced by so many.
So why does tomorrow start the night before so often? Perhaps because it reminds me to commit my day to God and be aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in my life leading and guiding me. Perhaps because I don’t always have the confidence that past evidence suggests I should have in my own capacity. Perhaps even because I have become a habitual reflective practitioner and know that processing things before, during and after they happen can help me learn, understand and apply.
Tomorrow can also be early today as this quotation from Chaim Potok’s The Book of Lights so eloquently describes:
This was the hour he had learned to dread, the hour of questions. No time of the day or night seemed so filled with the weight of darkness as this hour before the twilight of morning when there hovered about him what he had come to call the four o’clock in the morning questions…
Whether before we fall asleep or when we wake up very early thoughts can race around our head distracting and sometimes distressing us. This is not helpful!
But I need to remind myself that tomorrow there is hope, there is love, there is joy, there is peace along with other fruit of the Spirit and that those things are real even if there are some days I only fleetingly experience them. I am helped with this by spending some time with God every morning sitting in a chair looking out over the garden. I see the birds and am reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 6 when he encourages us to look at the birds of the air and see how God feeds them. The passage then goes on to say “And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” I know the answer to this is no, but that doesn’t always stop me from doing it. Tomorrow starts the night before but that can also mean the excitement and anticipation of a new day, a new experience, a new challenge to be faced with the hope that faith in God can bring.
References: John Snow, Moments and Thoughts, Kaye and Ward, 1973.