The Present Moment

I have a difficult time staying in and enjoying the present moment. Always looking ahead to the next “season” to be a little better: when I’ll finally have enough money to buy more than the essentials, when we can finally move out of this apartment, when I can finally get that degree. Of course, goals are a good thing, and it’s great to have things to look forward to, but when I only look ahead I miss out on the beauty of now.

The season of life I’m in right now is preventing me from making any solid long-term decisions. I’ve been forced to wait on others (my airline, the US government, my home church) to make important decisions for me, and I cannot determine more than a few weeks in advance what I will be doing and where I will be. Right now I’m in a season of waiting.

I hate waiting. And I hate being in the dark about my own life. I’m most happy when I have a plan, when I know what to expect out of life a year from now.

So how can I find the joy of this season of waiting?

Well, I’m a huge fan of lists, and I made one for the things I can count as blessings during this period of unplanned time. I don’t review it as often as I have a freak-out about not knowing my future, but I know it’s available anytime I need a reminder. And when I do, the worry melts away, and I can trust again that whatever the future holds, it will be ok, so it’s ok to just enjoy today. The beauty of the flowering trees, the warmth of the sun mixed with a gentle cool breeze, the chattery chirp of the bird that lives nearby, the freedom that my schedule allows, the excitement that anything can happen because nothing’s been ruled out yet and that the world is my oyster!

Instead of only seeking happiness in what is next, lets seek the joy of today. Whatever season of life we’re in, whether we’re…

  • working and wanting to return to school
  • in school and just looking forward to getting out and landing a job
  • stuck in our parents’ guest room longing to be able to afford our own place
  • single and hoping for a relationship
  • in a relationship hoping to get engaged
  • engaged and anticipating being married
  • married and wanting children (or more children than we have)
  • and a host of other things we desire next out of life

…let’s keep one eye on the goal and one eye on today, acknowledging the places of satisfaction and gratitude for being right where we’re at even if it’s not where we want to stay. And then take one more step in the direction of change.