Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Yesterday is only accessible through our memories. For someone it is 10 years, for others it is 20, and still for others it is 30, 40 or perhaps even 80 years. We cannot return that time, or correct it, nor can we add to it. Tomorrow will always be tomorrow—technically, tomorrow will never become today. We will never be able to get there. Perhaps this all sounds rather odd, but only until we start to think these things over. Once we begin to think about it, we realize that we can’t simply say that time is merely “passing by”—because we realize that it is actually flying by.
I sometimes ask myself what I would like to do while I am still capable of actually doing something. When I receive a letter from someone asking me for help, I tell myself that I will get back to that letter tomorrow. And on the next day, that need becomes yesterday’s need.
I hope that someone will respond to today’s need today. How long can a child wait in an orphanage? Of course he will wait, he has no other choice. In fact, he’s gotten used to waiting; he’s been waiting for years.
Do you remember how we bought a van for Belarus? That was 11 years ago. And yet it feels as though it were only yesterday. Meanwhile, 11 years ago a little boy named Vanya was born. His mother had no use for him from the beginning, but she was talked into taking him home anyway. Perhaps her little son, her own flesh and blood, would be able to stop her downward spiral and help set her on a new path. Love, care, kindness, and tranquility surround Vanya’s peers, but Vanya had been dealt a different hand: hunger, coldness, alcoholism—this is what awaited Vanya at home.
How do we care for a new car? We watch over it and wash it and dry it. Every little scratch on its surface brings us a stab of pain. But is there anyone to care for Vanya like we care for one of our cars? …After years of torment Vanya finds himself in an orphanage. It’s not too bad there—it’s warm and he gets food everyday.
And all this time, Vanya is not daydreaming about a car. He has a different dream. He dreams about tomorrow…that tomorrow his mother will come, and maybe even his father. They’ll take him home with them and they’ll have a “new” Vanya. And they will love him and surround him with kindness. He’s only 11 years old—they’ll have enough time to shower him with much love.
But we see a different tomorrow: in our new car, with our new iPhone in hand, we pull up to our new house.
Not too long ago, I became frightened of a thought I had, wondering what I would remember tomorrow about yesterday. You can never compare the smell of a new car to a child’s gaze…
I know that tomorrow will come. This tomorrow will be dearer than all I had once held close before. In this tomorrow all of those things will no longer matter.
But I hope that I will see Vanya there. I hope that today someone will come to him; hug him, hold him close, tell him about God… tell him about tomorrow. And I hope that he will learn to believe in God, and in tomorrow. And that he will be able to forget all of the fear, resentment, and pain, and that God himself will wipe away his tears.
…And on that day, I will suddenly remember that car, and the pain will be so, so bitter. Because we won’t be able to turn back the clock. We won’t be able to change the past, nor will we be able to add anything to yesterday.