You’ve probably heard this expression before. It often refers to people who decided to give up alcohol, but wind up having another drink.
The origin of the expression is interesting. In the late 19th century, there were many temperance organizations encouraging people, and especially men, to give up drinking alcohol. Water wagons were a commonplace sight in US cities at the time. They didn’t carry drinking water, but were used to damp down dusty streets during dry weather. Those who had vowed to give up drink and were tempted to lapse said that they would drink from the water-wagon rather than take strong drink. So “falling off the (water) wagon” meant that they had a drink.
My topic for the month of September has been “The Power of Decision.” Many of us have committed to some action so that we can wind up 2011 as “the best year of our lives.” Chances are that there are action steps to be taken: either physical steps (like working to clean out the garage), or eating correctly, or doing daily spiritual practices.
But what happens if we “fall off the wagon” and miss a day in doing what we committed to do?
We get back on the wagon.
The commitment we made really is to ourselves, whether or not other people are involved. The only judgment that matters comes from us (because we know that Spirit is not judging us).
So we love ourselves without condition, forgive what needs to be forgiven, and get back on track. Remember the wonderful words from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.”
Here’s to a fresh, new day!