The Gift of Now

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I wonder at times what the future holds. I can contemplate that for only a moment, because thinking about it longer than that frightens me. Will I be alone? Will my health continue to deteriorate? Will I experience financial hardship? Will aging get the best of me?

So you see why I can only spend a very short time contemplating such questions. They are all about the future, and no one can predict the future. We are not even sure we will have a future. And the past is just a basket full of memories, some good, some not so good.

What we do have is now, this present moment with all its possibilities. In this moment, we have the power to choose. We can make this moment whatever we can dream. We can make it life-giving. Life is available only in the present moment. “If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The Bible is full of wisdom on living the present moment to the fullest.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34, NIV

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV

Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. – James 4:14, KJV

Psychologist Abraham Maslow taught that the ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) wrote about the present moment in his ‘Self Reliance’ essay in 1841:

 . . . man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives . . . in the present.

Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift. The truth is that the happiest people are those who are completely present, who can give all of their attention to the present opportunity. Psychology calls it mindfulness, a state of active, open attention on the present. Mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to one’s present experience.

As you go about your day, be grateful for the fullness of each moment. Experience peace with your past, trust for your future, and embrace joy in your present moment.

May God grant you the gift of now.
Amen.

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