What if we took one day at a time?

It’s my last full day at this cabin set in the middle of hundreds of acres. The sun is just waking up, painting the sky in pastels, leaving a pink ribbon on the pond.


Photo: Marlys

I’ve done a good deal of thinking and praying in between all the writing these past weeks.

And I have questions.

In place of answers, though, there’s been a reinforcement of something I already know: Take one day at a time.

But I don’t want to take one day at a time. I want to know what God’s five-year plan is for me.

I want to know what’s going to happen with this book re-write, if I’ll ever have a home of my own again, if my goals and dreams are God-planted, or too ridiculously over-sized. And if divinely inspired, then I want to know when they’ll unfold.

But we don’t get the five-year plan. And good thing.

Because if you had told us before our wilderness years that my husband Gary would be unemployed, and we would have to sell our home and cash out our cushion against retirement, and my mom would move in with us as she slipped into dementia, oh, and cancer, if you had told us that Gary would be diagnosed with terminal cancer, we would have been devastated.

And yet, it wasn’t devastating as we managed each wreck of bad news stacked on top of bad news, like so many totaled cars stacked in rusted piles.

The geese on the pond near the cabin were protesting louder than normal this morning, which made me curious. Had the band of coyotes I heard last evening ventured closer?

I stepped out onto the side porch, stocking-footed and hugging a mug of cinnamon tea. Shivering. Wondering why I never learn to grab a coat first.

And then the geese took off.

The leader had signaled the full gaggle, and their honking and the whoosh of their wings and the graceful flurry before they soared into far-flung places … well, it all took my breath away.


Photo: Marlys

These geese, they get it. They know to take one day at a time. They don’t wonder what the future holds for them.

They know what they’re called to do. And they do it. Lifting up to soar. Taking turns piloting the “V.” Cleverly wintering in southern climes.

These geese, they’re smarter than we humans sometimes.

The solution to the quandary—this wanting-the-five-year-plan quandary? It’s simply to ask ourselves: What do I know to do today?

Today, my last full day on this wild land, I will write. And I will take a walk on the Jeep track, soggy from all the snow-melt. And I will write some more.

Today I will set about leaving the place spotless. And I will start gathering my belongings. Because tomorrow is the day to drive away.

We can set aside our need to know the five-year plan.

We can lean into what comes our way on this day—the expected and the unexpected—and we can manage it one thing at a time, one day at a time.

If I can take one day at a time—me, the want-it-now, big-dreaming, slightly-impatient (OK, mostly-impatient) girl—then you can do this.

You can do this!


Why rest?


How I was wrong


  1. Debbie Smith

    Thank you. This was very timely as I needed to be reminded of this.

  2. Marshall Matthews

    So beautifully written Marlys. Nature can teach us so much from the creatures, landscapes, light shows and tides. Perhaps that’s some of the things The Lord had in mind for us.

  3. Peter

    Seriously, taking one day at a time, even taking one task on at a time, has become something I truly MUST be conscious of and try do. Loved the scenes and where you took us, made me think of two occasions recently. Barbara had her group meeting (she’s able to interact with other folk, good for her), so I drove down to the coast and did a couple of sketches of the sea birds. You’ll understand how therapeutic it is to take some ‘me time’ like this. I find it hard to set aside time such as this BUT I try hard to learn and know it will heal the hurt (here I’m thinking of how I’m not able to mend my Barbara), but to ‘just be there’. This is a bit late, I pray you had a safe journey. God Bless, Bx P & family.

  4. Hi Marly, I am new to your blog. Thank you for finding me on Twitter. Is your husband still with you? Or perhaps I misunderstood. I am praying for you now as you go without knowing many of the details, like Abraham.

    • Hi Julie, my husband is with Jesus, but I love your prayer: “… praying for you now as you go without knowing many of the details, like Abraham.” What a beautiful encouragement to me – thank you so much!

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