My grandmother used to sing this song of worship “Un Dia A La vez” in her sweet low soothing voice and without fail I would close my eyes, smile, and breathe deeply as it never failed to calm me. It was a mantra to live life one day at a time with the hope and perseverance that the next day would be better than the last. My abuelita was a strong, kind, and friendly woman; I have never met anyone quite like her. Seemingly meek in her quiet way but once prompted by a friendly smile, she would sidle up next to you and become your new best friend as she chatted away and rewarded your willingness to listen with the sweetest of smiles and a twinkle in her eyes.
I think back on those days whenever I feel the urge to close in on myself, whenever I want to shut everyone out and live my life in quiet contemplation. I think about how much she suffered, how hard she worked to give her family a better life, and how she never lost that sweet composition. Growing up I thought there must be something wrong with her; she never yelled, she was never upset; she didn’t raise a hand to anyone. Even when my devil of a cousin would do outrageous things that made ME, a five year old, want to smack him silly; she would sigh and sing to him while she held him, rocking him back and forth in her bosom.
Whereas I cannot aim to be as sweet of an angel as she was, I derive strength from her memory, her simplicity in living life: care for your children, smile because it will get better, and devote your life to God by giving hope to others. Her seemingly simple outlook in life is beautiful in its selflessness and I do aim to follow in her example as such.
I take solace in the fact that things have definitely gotten better. So I say to you, there is a lot of pain to be found in life; sadness, tragedy, and injustice abound; but will you live life one day at a time hoping and working to make each day better or will you lay your soul to die when you quit the hope of a better life?
I have hurt inside; we all do, in varying degrees. My pain is no stronger, stranger, or sadder than yours. It is painful to me as yours is painful to you. But the beauty in the human spirit is that I will never give up the pursuit of being a better, happier, kinder, and more helpful human being and in the process, reap the rewards of mending my broken heart and healing old wounds, even when they reopen from time to time.
I hold your hand and I tell you, It Gets Better. One Day at a Time.