As a road warrior with little children, I often make travel plans that sound good in limiting my time away from family, but ultimately result in brutal combinations of trains, planes, and automobiles that render me exhausted and completely unhelpful upon return. A recent such jaunt involved a 5:30am flight, followed by a day of meetings, followed by a 5 hour drive to arrive in my second destination after midnight in time for a 7am meeting the next day. As I crawled into the Fairfield Inn at 1:22am bleary-eyed, I gave the woman my license and credit card. She asked, “Are you here for yesterday or today?" My eyes squinted and I gave Dawn, at the front desk, the same look of utter confusion I used to give Fr. Garber, my high school Chemistry teacher. “Come again?” I asked. Dawn repeated, “Are you checking in for yesterday or today?” Squinting even more I said, “I just need a bed for now.” She smiled and handed me my key and asked, “And you’re with us till tomorrow?” Not knowing whether she meant that day or the next, I just smiled and nodded.
Later that day (or whatever day it was), while working with a group of leaders, I observed that a few of the folks came to the table with a lot of history and baggage. To use Dawn’s words, there were definitely people there for “yesterday” and people there for “today”. On my flight home, I wondered, how often do I show up for yesterday versus showing up for today? What do I bring from the days, weeks, months, or even years prior that is helpful to the case at hand, and what might be holding me and others back? Do I recognize the gift it is "to restart, to rise again, to recover a sense of the goal of one’s own existence?” Sometimes, as for Dawn and me, it’s hard to know if you’re leading out of the past or leading in the present. Let’s give thanks to God for the blessing He gives us to always restart, to show up for today, and to look toward tomorrow.