“I believe that only one person in a thousand knows the trick of really living in the present,” wrote novelist Storm Jameson. “Most of us spend fifty-nine minutes an hour living in the past—or in a future that we either long for or dread. The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle—which is exactly what it is.”
For a woman who lived to be 95, and wrote a book every year from the 1920s until the 1960s, she clearly knew how to live each moment.
The above quote was written decades ago, and yet it is true for today. A young man I know recently completed therapy in a drug rehabilitation program; he shared what he had learned about living the moments. “I was challenged to live 85% in the Now,” he smiled. “You then can spend the other 15% living in the past or the future. That’s all you get there.”
So how does one live in the present…
I was much too stubborn to allow the memory of my father’s smoker’s breath and his thin fingers to steal joy from my teen years. I had discovered the first Polly Anna book published in 1913, when I was about 12. I knew about the ‘glad game’, an optimistic outlook for life; my attitude could determine what I did with bad experiences. Life was good and wonderful if I let go of painful memories. True, it was a process, but I began to accept the hurts… as a part of life.
I learned to listen to God’s whispers and I enjoyed Him…
As a young mother, I looked for moments to teach my children God was everywhere. Butterflies, birds, worms, rainbows, storms… all daily lessons of His love and presence. We walked in the rain, we hiked in the hills, we dusted woodwork…conversations were peppered with delights of God’s love.
Anyone can eat at a table in the dining room, I would tell them. We spent hours listening to the birds, watching clouds or the antics of chipmunks while on picnics. There were lessons under trees, under umbrellas, under shelters… there is no place we didn’t find God.
Monks call their rooms cells, from the Latin word cella which is related to coelum or heaven… the very place one enjoys God. (A Place Apart, M.Basil Pennington.) Early on my journey to discover the love and acceptance I needed, I began this practice of enjoying the Lord’s presence anywhere and everywhere.
In a house full of children’s antics… good and bad…I had to find a sanctuary for my time alone, when possible. There were always interruptions when the children were young. Those earlier years I was content to make a sanctuary whenever and wherever. As they grew in years, and I grew in my desire to enjoy my Creator, it was easier to be focused and scheduled in the same spot. A chair in our bedroom became a sacred place.
(The above is a chapter in a book I am currently writing on the scares and scars of sexual abuse on the way to… sacred. )
How do we enjoy God in these chaotic, changing days of Now…
It is more difficult today… Polly Anna fails me often. I force myself to trust (can one do that :-)) Hurts and heartbreaks in the family and world events create a dilemma that challenge even a Polly Anna. We have only One hope… my one panacea continues to be my morning beginning… listening .
Even today after 40 years, this chair, recovered twice now… is the place where I enjoy the Lord alone in the moments, hearing his whispers of affirmation, preparing my heart for this day… “Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Ps 20:7
And this: “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Ps 5:1-3
Enjoying God now… while waiting…
And you… how do you enjoy God? Maybe you can share your special places and ways.