Play the Day You are Given

“Play the day you are given.”

Jon Acuff

“Play the day you are given.” That’s the advice Jon Acuff gave a few of us last week. I wrote it on a 3X5 card—Anne Lamott style. A couple of days passed, and I forgot about it when I needed the advice the most.

Jon told us even with all his goal setting and planning, he never has two days, two weeks, or two months alike. Sometimes the unexpected gets thrown at you and you have to just “play the day you are given.” Days don’t come wrapped in a perfectly square box with a red bow, but every day is a gift, and we should treat it as such.

I spent the weekend writing a blog. My cousin Nancy read it and said it was not in keeping with my finding joy theme. She was right. I had to abandon the blog and start anew. But what else could I write about? Although I would like to say I keep a running list of blog topics, I don’t. So far, ideas have come to me when it’s time to write.

 Also, last weekend, I received an e-mail from Andy Andrews with a copy of his new e-book called . . . get this . . . Finding Joy. After reading it, I felt compelled to write him a letter. Writing a letter to my favorite author proved challenge enough, but that I have still not hooked up the printer I bought in January made printing the letter an ordeal. My goal was to get it in the mail before the post office closed Monday.

Monday, I emailed the letter to my neighbors Steve and Mary. They did not receive it so we couldn’t print it at their house. I emailed it to my friend Vickie, who also did not receive it. Sitting with her in her living room, she got it when I resent it from my phone. Vickie magically squeezed it onto one page, making it look much better. Life was looking up, but when her printer didn’t print to our satisfaction, my hopes of getting it postmarked Monday were dashed. And I still had not gone for the afternoon bike ride for which I had been dressed since noon.

Frustrated yet grateful, I thanked Vickie for her help and went for a head-clearing evening ride. I called my sister Sandi, now involving yet another person with my mission. This letter was by no means urgent, but in my mind it was. Time was of the essence. I itched to tell Andy that I was also writing a book called Finding Joy. Though much different from his 17-page e-book, it shares the same name. My sister suggested another tweak and printed it. No problem! I signed it, stuffed it in the previously addressed envelope and dropped it in the mail before midnight. Mission accomplished!

Now I owe a big thank you to Steve, Vickie, and Sandi for their part in getting my letter to Andy. All three were working from home, yet they willingly helped me with my “urgent” project. That’s what I call love.

So, Monday around midnight, I finally sat down to write a new blog. My ideas fell flat. The writing seemed forced, painful even. Reluctantly, I saved what I had and went to bed, hoping for a revelation in the morning. Time was running out on yet another self-imposed deadline. My goal was to post a blog by Wednesday and still I had nothing.

Remarkably, as I rode my bike on Tuesday afternoon, the “play the day you are given” idea came back to me. As I climbed a hill, I knew I needed to share with you Jon Acuff’s simple suggestion, to “play the day you are given.” We can find the silver lining if we are looking for it. Although painfully aware that if I had a working printer, I would not have had such a frustrating Monday. However, had I printed it myself or had Steve received my email, Vickie would not have fit my letter on one page, nor would I have deleted the unnecessary sentence Sandi suggested. And . . . I would not have had a good story to tell you this week.

So, I would like to encourage you to always look for the silver lining and “play the day you are given.”