My friend said, “I don’t want tomorrow to come too fast.” That word always triggers my memory of the Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow speech from Macbeth.
Of course, it popped into my head and came right out of my mouth. “Hey remember that…” but I soon regretted bringing it up. In the scene, MacBeth has gotten news of his wife’s death and is about to go down himself.
Act 5 Scene 5
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day-to-day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Definitely not something to share with anyone examining the brevity of his own life. And yes I think about it all the time, so I know the need for a word aptly spoken.
On the other hand, MacBeth was a son-of-a-bitch. To me, his lament drips with his usual arrogance. I hear him blaming life instead of facing himself. This guy did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. If his life signified nothing, it was his acts on his stage that caused it. Not the fact that “life is short, then you die,” as the saying goes.
Ok fine, it’s a Shakespearian Tragedy not a real life story. I just love stories and the meaning that we can get from them. I love the idea that we are never too old and its never too late to change our stories. My idea might make for a shitty play but what if MacBeth had changed his ways instead of crying, poor me?
What if we could all rewrite the lament to say, “Today wasn’t great, but I will try again tomorrow? I won’t get stuck so far in the details of making a living that life passes me by? When I see what a fool I was yesterday I will try a different way tomorrow? When I see myself strutting I will try to reach out to help someone else instead? When I am fretting I will stop and send up thanks for all I have to rejoice over? I will choose to be daily cognizant of the brevity of life in order to spur me on to purposely live for more than my own selfish glory?” Of course I am talking to myself here.
So maybe it’s not such a bad idea to share with someone who is thinking about life’s brevity. Because life does fly by. It’s easy to waste time on irrelevancies. Nope, not saying that making a living and fulfilling the duties of the day are irrelevant! Just saying that is not all there is.
I’m hearing a long-time contemporary Christian musician in my head now, he sings, “There’s more to this life than living and dying,
More than just trying to make it through the day;
More to this life, more than these eyes alone can see,
And there’s more than this life alone can be.”
Steven Curtis Chapman and his family have walked through some deep tragedy in this life. Yet they have kept faith and expended their days for good in the world, at the same time. In fact they have spear-headed the adoption of thousands of children across the globe.
I don’t know why some suffer greater losses than others, and don’t wish to compare. Each path is unique, as I’ve stated before. But there is something similar in them all. It’s been said before from Epictetus to Zig Ziglar and probably Mr. Rogers. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” Shall we be “sound and fury, signifying nothing?” Or something else?
(You can read about the Curtis’s daughter Maria on the Show Hope link)