Enjoying the Moment
We went to see Surf's Up and then out to dinner for Father's Day this afternoon and evening. I came out of the theater and looked at my 21-year-old Josh and realized that when his dad and I were his age we'd already had his older brother and were pregnant with him. Both Mike and Josh have paid the price for our immaturity, and I would like to avoid that with Noah and Brooks!
When I was in my 20s I did my best to be a good mom, but I did not realize how quickly time flies and how quickly those little boys would be men. I was concerned about all kinds of things, but not concerned about just enjoying them as people. I still get to enjoy them as people now -- Mike spends as much time talking with me as I could ask for a 22-year-old to spend, and Josh comes home every summer and for his other college breaks -- but I lost out on all that I should have experienced with them . . . even when they were babies and I was home with them full-time. I just didn't have the maturity to know how to focus on them the way I should have, and to treasure each moment as it came.
I am learning how to do that. When they were 14 and 15 their brother Noah was born, and then little Brooks was born the fall before they were 16 and 17. The shock of how quickly they had shot into their teens taught me to enjoy each baby-day with Noah and Brooks.
Enjoying today is not always easy to do. It is easier to focus on what is wrong than on what is right, and easier to focus on what needs to be done than on who needs to be seen and appreciated. But it is a spiritual discipline to enjoy today. The full life God calls me to live in as I live in His Kingdom is a life that sees people in their glory in the moment, and chooses to value them more than all the things that seem more urgent.
Diane and I are reading a book together called This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God by Rick Mckinley, and it's wonderful! He shows how the church -- and individual Christians -- are called to live in the kingdom that God has already brought, not to "work real hard" and labour to bring the Kingdom. God's Kingdom exists, even amid the beautiful mess of real life!
We are not called to programs and management of organizations -- that is, not as our primary focus. We are called to the person in front of us today, and to put ourselves each day in front of the people that God is calling us to love. "Enjoying the moment" is enjoying relationship: either the relationship with the God who made that beautiful sunset or that beautiful person, or the relationship with those around me who also enjoy His creation and His person or are that awesome person we are called to cherish.
Forgiveness calls me to cherish the moment as well! I cannot enjoy this moment with you if I am holding on to anger over what you did in the past or guilt over what I did. I cannot enjoy this moment with you if I am conscious of the ways you don't measure up to my expectations, or if I am conscious of the ways I don't measure up to yours. And so forgiveness is best expressed and tested by an ability to enjoy this current moment in our relationship, rather than living in the past or discarding this moment for the hope of a different tomorrow.
As I examine all the "Kingdom Values" from Matthew 5-7, I see a call to dwelling in the moment that also acknowledges the past and future, but lives firmly in the here-and-now. And all the values point to my relationships with you and God being anchored in a firm respect for who we all are right-here-and-right-now.
We are gifted with minds that can filter out part of reality and focus on another part of reality. That allows moms to feed their babies in the middle of the night when their bodies cry out for sleep. That allows each of us to focus on the next thing that needs to be done rather than being overwhelmed by the 40 things that seem urgent. That allows us to practice delayed gratification, and even allows us to endure great physical or emotional pain. Focus is powerful.
And "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness" is a call to focus on the Kingdom in front of our noses today, not a call to ignore His kingdom for what our own "righteousness" might call into being if we work really hard at it.
So it's time for me to focus on my two little ones for this evening's bedtime!