Recent research, by those who study such things, point out that soldiers wounded on the battlefield give the impression of experiencing less pain than similarly wounded civilians. The reasoning is that to the soldier, the wound means surviving the battlefield and returning home. The future looks hopeful. Alternatively, the injured civilian faces major surgery and a resulting loss of income, diminishment of activities, and many other negative consequences. The future looks dismal.
On October 20, 1957, C. S. Lewis wrote a short note to Mary Willis Shelburne who, earlier, had shared with Lewis some bad news concerning her health and finances. Lewis was shocked and distressed by her news. Wanting to offer both encouragement and perspective he thinks back to his time in the military and responds,
“The great thing, as you have obviously seen, (both as regards pain and financial worries) is to live from day to day and hour to hour not adding the past or future to the present. As one lived in the Front Line ‘They’re not shelling us at the moment, and it’s not raining, and the rations have come up, so let’s enjoy ourselves.’ In fact, as Our Lord said, ‘Sufficient unto the day.’”1
We don’t know if our situation will improve tomorrow. Thinking it will, evidently improves today.
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” – Matthew 6:34 (King James).
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 889.