Recently, someone came into my life that asked me to “live in the moment” when we planned our first one-0n-one encounter. Living in the moment is something that goes in line with many of the teaching and lessons I’ve learned over the years and though I know we all try to practice this principle, it remains difficult, at least for me, to keep from “projecting” future events based on current feelings and emotions.
In one of my earlier posts here on the blog, I referred to a lady counselor at Norton Valley Hope in Norton, KS. I saw only once in September 2006. She was substituting that day for my regular counselor and was the key person who gave me the handwritten note about reading pages 416-417 of the “Big Book” 5 times a day for 5 days and how it would change my life. To refresh those not aware of that post, the basic thrust behind that lesson was the hugely important value of acceptance in our life. Acceptance of persons, places, things, and situations as being exactly the way God intended them to be “at this MOMENT”, to accept completely life on life’s terms as it is today at this very moment, good OR bad. I remember asking her that day, “what is this business about living one day at a time?” I’ll never forget how she helped me to make it clearer then, though I still didn’t fully grasp it until much later. She said, “Gus, where are you?” I said, “I’m in Norton, KS.” She said, “No, where are you at this moment?” I said, “I’m sitting here talking to you.” THEN she said, “Where are your feet?” I said, “Huh? well, one is crossed over one leg and the other is on the floor.” She said, “Exactly.”
I remember now I sort of looked at her in amazement and I recall briefly understanding what she meant but then later, my personal pastor there, told me something else that helped even more. He said, “Gus, you and I are a lot alike. We like to plan and I’ve found that living ONE day at a time is waaay too much for me. And I think you’re the same way.” I said, “What do you mean? Are you saying we shouldn’t PLAN for the future? I mean, after all Bob, I’ve got responsibilities, bills, etc.” He said, “No, I’m not suggesting that you NOT plan. You HAVE to. But just don’t expect all your plans to work out.” After probing him further about this he said, “Let me give you an example. For me, one day is too much, one hour is too much. So, for instance, when I’m crossing the street, I’m crossing the street. I’m not thinking about what I’m going to do when I get there because I may not make it across.”
That made a lot more sense to me. And that was nearly 4 years ago. Today, its so much clearer and even though I try to “live in the moment”, I’m still one of those that struggles with the concept. However, the person I referred to at the start of this particular post has helped to remind me of the HUGE value of living in the moment, just letting life come to us one moment at a time, because life doesn’t offer us ANY guarantees. We’re only here for a short time and it is an absolute necessity to keep our minds focused on that way of living. Projecting the future for ourselves, or even others we become involved with personally, like the person I met recently should be handled with trust, care, and most of all, respect. Doing so will therefore afford us the opportunity to learn and grow within ourselves and with others in our lives.
Yesterday’s job interview is another prime example of living in the moment. Yes, my meeting in downtown San Diego on the 25th floor of the Emerald Plaza with the senior recruiter for a legal employment placement firm went fantastic and far beyond my wildest imaginations. But is there any guarantee that something will come of it just because of “that moment?” Obviously not. That’s why humility is also a key part of the equation in living in the moment and in anything else we do on a day-to-day basis. And it also reminds me of one of my favorite sayings that Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church, describes about life.
He said, and I’m paraphrasing here so forgive me for not quoting directly: “I used to think life was like a series of hills and valleys. First you go up to the mountaintop then back down before returning the the top once more. I no longer believe that. Rather, life is like a set of railroad tracks, and at all times there’s always something good going on in your life and always something bad going on in your life. When life is good, beware, because there’s something bad probably coming up the other side of the tracks that’s going to bite your ass. And when life is bad, just remember, there’s always something you can be thankful for.”
The moral of that story? At least to me? Balance, humility, living in the moment, don’t project, don’t get too “high” when things are good and don’t get so “down” when they’re not.
So, this new and special person in my life and this stellar job interview? Keep it all in perspective, practice those principles already learned, listen and watch for the signs from God to stay always humble, always ready to learn, to give of yourself to others, ACCEPT life on life’s terms as it is today, AT THIS MOMENT.