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There Is Only Ever Today

M y family moved numerous times when I was a child. The first home I remember was near the center of Toronto, a little house that has long since been torn down plus replaced by a modern monster. From there we moved to one of the city’ s up-and-coming eastern suburbs where we had an older home on a larger property, then to one of its set up western suburbs where we had a very normal home on a very normal suburban house. But wherever we lived, whatever the size of our house or land, one thing remained constant—we always had the best gardens in the neighborhood.

There were the best gardens because my dad was a landscaper, an designer whose medium was ground, grass, trees, and flowers. He would have considered themselves a hypocrite had he or she made other properties gorgeous but not his own, so by doing so our home was continually a display of his genuineness, a showcase of their ability, an expression of his artistry.

My favorite was the 1 in Unionville, the one that acquired the largest home and the biggest gardens. The front yard was a work of special beauty, and it was not unusual to spot passersby standing at the curbside to simply admire it. Father had laid a curving brick pathway that led from the front door to the towering trees that lined the street, and beside it he had created a rock garden filled up with flowers that were specially chosen to bloom at different occasions of the season—a mix of perennials and annuals, of green shrubs and blooming bouquets. It was a work of art.

My personal favorite spot was the great plot of daylilies, and I’ve never lost the wonder of them. Though a single daylily might produce many blooms, each individual flower is on display first day. Under the warmth from the morning sun a marijuana begins to open and padding spread wide to display bright orange blooms and great protruding stamen. For a day they are swarmed by bees and hummingbirds who hungrily consume their nectar plus busily carry off their own pollen. The flowers stay open and beautiful through the afternoon and into the night. But as night drops, as the light fades, since the evening chill settles in, they wither and fade. By morning they are a husk, a shell of the former selves. They are, quite literally, here today and gone tomorrow. There is but one short day in order to admire their beauty.

A lot more often like a daylily in that each new day starts fresh opportunities to do great to the people around us—opportunities that often wither and diminish before the darkness of night time. Each new day introduces its occasions to love and serve others and these occasions will be gone if they are not really embraced before the day attracts to its close. The good we can do on Wednesday is often no longer possible on Wednesday. It falls to us, then, to allowed the day’s duties, to carry out whatever good we can, not to put off until tomorrow the great we ought to do today.

Each new day brings the daylily its blooms; each new day brings the Christian his duties. With regards to the duty we have to our other man—the duty of doing great to others for the fame of God—there is no last night and no tomorrow. There is only ever this day, there is only ever today.