Tomorrow Is a New Day

Edith and Ellen Emerson

At the Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church last week I preached on “Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul.” One of the readings I used for the service was taken from a letter Emerson wrote to one of his daughters, Ellen or Edith, I don’t know which. A number of people who attended the service asked me where the passage came from. I had to tell them it wasn’t from any one of his writings, but from a memoir of Emerson by James Elliot Cabot. Since this book is not readily available I am quoting from it here:

“Finish each day and be done with it. For manners and for wise living it is a vice to remember. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. To-morrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day for all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations to waste a moment on the rotten yesterdays.”

[In James Elliot Cabot, A Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1887), vol. II, 489]