Living in the present

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“I can’t believe how fast this year is going!”

I’ve both heard and said that a number of times lately. I hear people say that about all sorts of things. How fast their kids grow up, how old a certain celebrity is or how long ago a big event in their life happened.

I find myself thinking and saying it a lot as well. I believe that the older you get the more this happens, but it happens to just about everyone at least once in a while. As the pace of modern life continues to quicken it seems to be happening more and more.

A few months ago I heard some people on a podcast lamenting that people are so busy anticipating the next cool movie and sharing all the leaks and tidbits they find on it, that by the time it comes out its old news. They don’t spend time talking about it after seeing it because they’ve already moved on to what’s coming next.

That struck a chord with me because I’ve found myself doing exactly the same thing. That’s really odd, when you stop to think about it. We are getting so busy looking at what’s coming and talking about what it could or should be like that we are overlooking what’s actually here.

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For too many of us life has become one long drawn out anticipation of the “next big thing.” And when it finally arrives we are disappointed because not only does it fail to live up to our overhyped expectations, but we’re so busy looking past it we can’t enjoy it for what it is.

It seems that we need to be reminded that life is now, today, what’s right in front of us in this present moment. Because this moment is all we have. Not only is there no guarantee that next big thing will ever arrive but there’s no guarantee you or I will be here to see it when and if it does.

If life is anything it’s fleeting. It’s moving so fast that we lose track of just how quickly things are slipping by us. To live a life that’s all about what could be while failing to appreciate and rejoice in what is here right now seems like a very shallow life to me.

I remember the first moon landing in 1969. While we waited for the Astronauts to take that first moonwalk it felt like the world was holding its breath. I had to go out and remember there was hardly any traffic and everyone and everything seemed quiet and still to me. Three years later, in 1972, the final moon landing took place and few people even bothered to pay attention. After the first couple of moon walks people just moved on and forgot all about them. Old news, move along, nothing to see here. Nothing but an incredible dangerous, heroic, historic event that changed the world that’s all. But we were bored. And that was before cable TV and the internet. Today I’m sure we’d move on even quicker.

This is where some discipline is needed (oh, that despised word!). We have to stop ourselves and focus on what’s happening right now. We need to remind ourselves of just how miraculous and amazing life really is, and live it now while we still can.

Each day is an amazing experience, or it can be if we pay attention to it. Even bad days are amazing because I’m alive to experience them! Perhaps the old ideas of a day of rest to contemplate things, or the idea of a siesta to slow us down a bit have more meaning that we’d like to admit.

So I hope all of us will use some discipline to stop and celebrate each day of our lives before it’s all passed us by and we find ourselves having passed through life without having bothered to live it.

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Louie Marsh is pastor of Christ’s Church on the River on the Parker Strip. Visit his website HERE.

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