Monday, January 26, 2015

Living in the Moment

Time’s a funny thing. When we’re having fun, it seems to have wings. But when we’re anxiously waiting for a day or particular hour to arrive, time seems to adopt the pace of a snail. Either way, time often dominates our thinking.

If we allow it to be, time
can be a cruel master.
Confession: I’m one of those that have paid too much attention to time, especially focusing on the future. Too frequently I have found myself so caught up in what I have to do an hour from now, or what I’ll be doing tomorrow, next week or next month, the simple act of pausing to sample the fragrance of the flowers along the way escapes my attention. So consumed by the journey, I’ve missed the scenery as I passed by.

So I couldn’t help feeling intrigued as I watched a brief video of a guy named Marc Mero, founder of a non-profit organization known as Champions of Choices. A former football player, boxer and professional wrestler, he was speaking to a large group of high school students about poor choices he’d made earlier in his life.

Mero admitted even after overcoming a variety of personal problems, he continued to concentrate on the pressing demands of his own life at the expense of important things – including time with his aging mother, who had sacrificed so much during his childhood.

Acknowledging he had failed to appreciate his mom’s unconditional love until it was too late, Mero said her death presented a major turning point for him. Observing he had become so busy with the relentless pace of living that he couldn’t enjoy everyday life, he commented, “I no longer live in time – I live in moments.”

Live in moments? Who does that? Ambitious, career-minded in particular are always looking ahead, desperately searching for the next opportunity, the “big break” that will propel them toward their long-term goals. Losing focus for even a moment, supposedly the shortest measure of time, can make a difference, right? Frazzled homemakers attend to their daily chores, determined to get them all done just right, while their offspring are growing up on the periphery.

I recall early in my journalistic career working long hours, striving to perform with excellence, convinced this was necessary for me to climb the so-called ladder of success. I gained commendations for my work ethic and diligence, but I missed seeing a lot of what my young daughters were doing while I was away meeting deadlines and pursuing the next stories. Precious moments were frittered away, never to be recaptured.

This is one reason we find warnings about this in, of all places, the Bible. It cautions about Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). Days are not evil in the sense of being sinful, but they hasten past and time lost is gone forever. The only time we can truly “manage” is the moment we have right now.

Speaking to a huge crowd that had gathered to see Him in person, Jesus advised His listeners,  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Why lose sleep about time that hasn’t arrived yet, He was telling them, when you have enough to be concerned about right now – at this moment.

The sobering truth about getting older is that the sum total of “moments” remaining is rapidly decreasing. So maybe we should follow the lead of Marc Mero and stop living in time. Instead, let’s start living in the moments – and savoring them.

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