Last week I made an unpleasant discovery: a project which I thought had been finished was not finished. And moreover, it had to be finalized by the end of the month. In another state. With notarized signatures. And I wasn’t even sure that I had been given the correct information by the person who was supposed to know. Yargh.
Stress reared its ugly head. I admit, I spent some time feeling sorry for myself, doing my own personal inner-sulk-and-brood routine. And then, from out of nowhere, a little voice whispered in my ear: “Sometimes, the only thing you can do is the next thing.” So I pulled my chin up off the floor and did the next thing that needed doing; and the next, until everything that I could personally do had been done, and the rest was up to someone else. After that, I took my family out to dinner and we enjoyed ourselves. Within twenty-four hours, the project was completed – for real this time (huzzah!) – and I was left to ponder: “Do the next thing.” Where had I heard that before?
It took some searching, but I finally found the answer on a blog called Ann’s Open Door, which has the following poem posted in its sidebar. If the religious aspect doesn’t speak to you, feel free to set it aside. We all believe differently. The poem is too good not to share, and I hope you love it as much as I do!
Do the Next Thing
From an old English parsonage, down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration – “Do the next thing.”
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows, Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, “Do the next thing.”
Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His Hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, same ’neath His wing,
Leave all resultings, “Do the next thing.”
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering) be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing,
Then, as he beckons thee “Do the next thing.”
– Author Unknown