More life in the moment …
Yesterday I read a little post titled “Sunday Sermon” by fellow blogger Bob, and it struck me as if it were a common theme I’ve been hearing for weeks. Oh; it is. He talked about getting past our sense of not being happy today because we’re thinking about the future and what we want, or the past and what we had. Then my daughter posted about self-imposed stress and maybe just letting the kiddos go at their own pace. And my DIL (daughter-in-law) posted about her upcoming extremely busy and stressful week.
I’m very much a planner and a daydreamer, always thinking about what’s the next step in the plan, and what haven’t I planned for, and remembering what life used to be like when I was a twenty-something husband with a wife and a dog and a condo on the edge of the mountains. Of course I was a planner and a dreamer back then too, but we had a lot of simple and good times in between the planning and the dreaming while living a relatively unencumbered lifestyle. Life has gotten a lot more complicated since then, and these days we seem to enjoy precious few of those simple and good times we used to love.
In his message, Blogger Bob related the story of the monk being chased by a tiger when he suddenly found himself at the edge of a huge cliff. Facing a choice between certain death and … certain death, he stepped off into the abyss. Grasping an extended root he briefly interrupted his journey to his unavoidable fate, and saw that he was facing a beautiful and luscious strawberry growing from the chasm’s wall. Unable to return to the brink and face the tiger, and with his strength and grip ebbing away he savored the beauty, and tasted the fruit, and happily and fully lived his last moment.
We’re all facing certain death. For the monk, it was a matter of seconds, it was immediate. For us it’s a matter of unknown seconds, minutes, hours, days, years; it’s a lifetime by whatever measure. How many of us live in the moment? How many of us take the time to be happy with the present? It is, after all, a gift. The past is history, we can’t change it. Tomorrow never really comes. The present, the gift of time, of now, is all we really have. Kind of a sobering thought.
OK, so now the practical side of me is kicking in. What if I need work to support my family? What if I want to watch my grandkids grow and spend time with them? What if I lose someone I love? What if my kids get sick? What if my dad needs elder care? What if I make it to retirement age? Surely I need to plan for all this stuff, just in case?
Well yes, I do, but that planning doesn’t need to keep me from being happy. After all, even God plans. I know it because He has a plan for each of us, doesn’t He? All of His creation is evidence of His plan. And if you don’t believe in a Creator or Supreme Being, isn’t a little planning a useful tool in helping you manage your life and weed out the things you do and do not want to accomplish? We planned for our kids, and savored the moments of their births. We planned a monster vacation fifteen years ago, and lived in every moment of every day. We also had unplanned job changes, and unplanned illnesses, and scary test results, and we rolled with the punches. We weren’t necessarily happy but we accepted and dealt with the challenges as they presented themselves. And here we are.
So, all that being said, I hereby resolve to find happiness wherever and whenever I can; and not dwell on what I want but don’t have or what I had a long time ago, as in yesterday. I resolve to plan my work; i.e., my life, but only just enough, and joyfully work my plan, while accepting and engaging in the serendipitous and spontaneous opportunities that constantly reveal themselves. I resolve to look for, admire the beauty of, and taste the richness of the strawberries.
Doing my best to welcome serendipity and live in the moments I’m given …