Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hope In This Moment

When I was a sophomore in college, I remember being told I had a deadline of a certain date to declare my major, at which time was undecided.  Whatever I majored in would set the course for my remaining time at school, thus marking a starting point on my future's map.  Not only did I find the decision distressing, but I felt completely backed into a corner.  "But, I don't know for sure what I want to do for the rest of my life!" I thought in panic as those around me settled comfortably in to their own pre-determined major.  Many, if not all, of my friends at that time knew exactly where they were going, how they were going to get there, and the exact road they were going to take to reach their goals.  Whether or not they've all reached sophomore year's marked destination point, I don't know.  I, for one, did not.  I didn't know it at the time, but I know now that life isn't about knowing what we're going to be doing ten years from now.  It's about having hope in this one moment. 
First, let me say that I firmly believe in planning for the future and working towards a goal.  However, our existence isn't guaranteed beyond the moment we're currently in.  It could be ten more minutes before I've even had enough time to finish this, but in five minutes I could be dead.  I'm really counting on that not being the case, but only God knows when my time is up.  Sound morbid? Maybe, but it's nevertheless a scary reality of life. You're not guaranteed the next hour anymore than I am.  I'm guessing the people in Japan who died in the earthquake weren't planning on that being their last day -- but it was.  I'm not here to write about why that happened.  Only God knows that, but what I want each one of you to think about is the moment you're in right now, and if it was your last would you be happy with how you spent it?

How do you spend your time - your moments?  Are you angry more than you're not?  Are you complaining to and about people more than you're thanking them?  Are you sad more than you're happy? Are you crying more than you're laughing?  Is it even possible to live a calm, happy, thankful, and laughter filled life?  The answer is yes - it is.  Jesus didn't die so we could all sit around and complain, cry, and yell.  Through His death, we're given not only forgiveness and a relationship with the Father, but also hope.  Our hope should be in the moments we're in because they make up our hours, days, months, and years.  Merriam-Webster defines moment as "a minute portion or point of time: instant."  It seems the saying is true - life is a succession of moments, and I only just recently started to "get" this. 

I used to think I had to have all the answers and a perfectly mapped out future.  Though  I commend those who do have their future mapped out and follow it without getting lost along the way, this has never been me.  I tried to pretend that it was for many years, but as it turns out I've never had a clue - a truly unsettling discovery when it was first made.  God has since shown me that I don't need to have all the answers or know everything about where I'm going.  He holds that information and reveals it to me as I need to make decisions.  For now, I know everything I need to know at this very moment in time.  It is true that I still find myself plagued at times with an almost uncontrollable desire to know what comes next, but I just continue to hope in this moment for God to reveal things to me as He sees fit.  He always does.

Life can become more beautiful than we've ever known when we're committed to living in the moment, rather than the past or future.  How do we actually live in the moment?  By continually taking note of what we're doing, thinking, and feeling.  It's an on-purpose decision to live this way and we have to take the time to stop and notice what's happening in each moment. "I don't have the time for that," many of you may say.  To that, I say you don't have the time not to stop and take note of your moments.  They are, afterall, what will bring you into tomorrow so why not stop and take a closer look at the moments of today?  Have you ever been so busy that you actually can't recall where the time went?   You reflect back over the day when it's nearing an end and note what happened when you took your boss coffee and spilled it on the way - a co-worker stopped to help you clean it up.  "How nice of him," you thought inside.  You remember the happy look on your child's face when you praised him or her for the good grade they received from last week's assignment.  You think about how you felt when you boss passed you over for that promotion, knowing you deserved it more than the one he chose.  You can almost relive the relief you experienced when that oncoming truck swerved across the road but missed you by an inch.  These are all moments of everyday life that we so often think about after they've passed.  These are the moments that make you feel great.  These are the moments that bring you heartache.  These are the moments that come together to form your day.  You can't choose all of your moments, and I'm not saying you can.  I'm saying you can choose to really see the moment for what and where it is in your life and then be filled with hope in each and every one of them. 

I used to take so much for granted - my son, my husband, my own life.  I didn't see them for where and who they were, and I certainly didn't see my own life for the gift it is.  I made a decision not long ago that I don't want to live my days at 9:00 at night after they've already happened (later than that for some I know).  At the end of the day, I don't want to look back and think - "man, I wish I would have paid more attention to that," or "if only I had noticed that when it happened!"  I want to take note of my life the moment it occurs. I want to see my beautiful son for the amazing and loving child he is.  I want to see my adoring husband for the tender and loving man he is. I want to see my life for the awesome journey with God that it is.  All of these things I want to see in every moment throughout the day - not just as a whole day already spent.  I want the moments from the day.  I don't always get this right.  I miss the moments more often than I seize them, but I'm seizing and noting more of them today than I ever have before.  I hope in this moment that I make someone better for knowing me, that I love those around me, and that I take nothing for granted. 

Hope in this moment that you recognize your life for the beautiful gift it is! God bless you all!

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