On our way home from serving more than 200 meals at Family Kitchen last evening, the thought came to me: I’m looking forward to going to Hawaii [Dan and I are flying out tomorrow], but take Hawaii out of the picture and I’m deeply content where I am. Here. Now.
It hasn’t always been this way, though.
As a younger woman, I used to imagine a home on acreage in the country … and then I’d be happy. And later, I imagined coordinating cancer survivor retreats on that same imaginary piece of country property. And once that happens, then I’d be content.
Here’s a thing: If we’re living in the future—whether it’s a calling, a different location than here, a new house, a dreamed-about husband or wife—if that’s where we’re living, then we’re wasting this present moment. And this present moment is my life, your life, made up of seconds and minutes strung together into days.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming and planning. Go ahead. Dream big. Make big plans. Work toward the goal. And remember to be present now, live here, as you wait for God to open the doors for then.
This thought from the book of James (4:13-14):
Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Add to that this thought from Psalm 118:24:
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
If—compared to all of time and everything that has ever been created, even those things that human eyes have not seen—if our one life is likened to a bit of mist (think: Pacific Ocean waves hitting the shores of Hawaii [sorry to keep rubbing Hawaii in your face] and evaporating into misty air), then shouldn’t I stay in that space, in that life while I have it?
And if this day—this one, exquisite, life-filled, beauty-filled day—was made for my enjoyment, shouldn’t I live in it and pay attention to it and own it? This day of being married to this good man. This day of serving at Family Kitchen with this incredible crew. This day of getting to live here at the base of these mountains.
“Beware of Destination Addiction,” wrote Robert Holden, PhD, which he defined as:
—a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is the next place, the next job, and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.
I’ve posted part of this poem before—“If We Never Arrive” by Christina Grace Hutson—and it’s worth repeating:
I stand on ground 20 miles ahead of me.
Once this … then I’ll be at peace.
Once the circumstances change, the symptoms leave,
the answers come, the loved one heals,
the person repents, the project is done …
But light sings relentless,
that today will always be the blessed day,
because it’s the one we have.
If we don’t choose to be present and content in this moment, then when we reach that place of the dream job, or dream house, or dream spouse, we won’t be present and content there.
In addition, if we love the idea of the dream job, dream house, dream spouse more than the Giver of Dreams, then our priorities are seriously skewed. I know this because I’ve been guilty of this.
As you wait for God to fulfill what He’s spoken to your heart, be present. This moment of pause is your life.
On a side note, Dan—a scuba diver—dusted off his snorkeling equipment that had been stored for a while. He was too cute to not take a photo. See for yourself.
Marlys, Your article is so timely! I get it,,,finally!! (Boy I could have used this wisdom 30 years ago).
P.S. I wish I were going to Hawaii. Just joking! Have a great trip!!!
It took me a while to get it, too, Roxanne! Blessings.
Have wonderful memories from here in CO, but what I meant was from every inch at the coast. From end to end, and even Roads End! ????
Barbara – I read your first comment too quickly. You said, “my time THERE with George …” and you meant in Maui! That’s awesome that you and George got to explore every inch of the coast. (I think we might have been at Roads End today … out past the lava beds on the southern end of the island.)
I don’t have to say “have a wonderful time “ because you will! You brought me happiness in remembering my time there with my George “. Thank you! Much love. Oh, don’t forget pictures (as if you could).
Yes, Barbara … we promise to have a wonderful time and to post pics! So glad you have such wonderful memories with George here in central Oregon.