Living in the Moment

red light

For a long time now I’ve been trying to live more in the moment.

I want to enjoy my family and not be worried about tomorrow or stuck in the past.

Why is it so hard?

Then it hit me: I DO live in the moment. I’m actually very good at it.

“When is this stupid red light going to change?” “Look at the traffic!” “Come on, go already!”

Waiting for my d e l i b e r a t e and s u p e r  s l o w preschooler to put on his shoes is an exercise in torture. It feels like an eternity.

Isn’t that what living in the moment is? Being so present that now feels like all there is?

Maybe living in the moment isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When I’m razor focused on the most obvious thing in the moment, I often miss the important.

When I focus on my son’s task of putting on his shoes, I’m blind to him as a person, to the beauty of nature outdoors, to appreciating how the older ones have learned to get themselves ready and out the door on their own.

I’m so focused on the task at hand that eternity of the moment is forgotten.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “the present is the point at which time touches eternity.”

But surely that red light will not be there in eternity.

Maybe living in the moment means focusing on the part of the moment that is eternal: the good, the true, and the beautiful.

Not the shoes, but the boy-turning-man.

Not the traffic, but the people I’m with.

Not my problems and my troubles, but the blessings I’m thoughtlessly taking for granted.

Maybe planning the future and reflecting on the past aren’t the enemies of living in the moment, but rather a way to use the present to connect with the eternal parts of the past and the future.

Or maybe planning and problem solving are only helpful in that they make the path smoother so we can focus more on the eternal part of the present moment.

I can’t enjoy my son as a person when we started to get ready too late.

Or can I?

Can I still enjoy the scenery when we’re late and in traffic?

Only if joy is a higher priority than punctuality.

Ouch. I want to be joyful and punctual, but if I have to choose . . . I usually choose being pissed off because we failed to be punctual.

Like I wrote last week, I’m no longer pretending I have more solutions than questions, so this is where my thoughts end and yours begin!

3 thoughts on “Living in the Moment”

  1. I think, in your examples, you are still not fully in the present because you are seeing these present moments as links in the chain leading to “the main event”- whatever that happens to be. I think what is frustrating probably for both adults and children is that we have different views on what constitutes “the main event” in a chain of events. I know, for example, the main event for James while walking to the store is walking past the construction area over the rocky path (that is, about a 10 meter stretch in a 1000m walk). Obviously, this is NOT the main event to me!!! How frustrating must it be for him when I rush him over those rocks! He wants to walk back and forth on that bumpy surface multiple times, and I… do not. But I *do* want to be able to leisurely stroll through the grocery store without the kids getting bored, so that I can make sure I accomplish everything on my list. So, frustration for James!

    1. Good point and example. I have moments like those, too, but with the red light and traffic, I really do zoom in to see only that. I’m not imagining what’s coming next. Of course because I see it as a barrier to the main event I see it as a negative, but why the lazer focus on something I cannot change?

      Yesterday I hit traffic and felt myself tunneling in to the “zone” so to pull myself out I recited our memory verse. Maybe a song would have been better as the kids didn’t really catch on, but hey, I’m trying!

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