“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” Bil Keane
My grandmother Nanie, with spun silver hair and hands like see-through silk, loved to use this quote. Embracing the present is a concept that I believe we mature into. A reality that makes it especially appropriate to hear drip from the lips of someone who has squeezed every drop of richness out of her days. For this season of my life, I’ve been determinedly grounded in this gift called the present.
embracing the present
For the last four months nearly every aspect of our lives have been touched by change. No two weeks have looked the same. Commonplace activities such as grocery or thrift store shopping involve GPS assistance and our landscapes have changed more quickly than the seasons. The hidden blessing folded deep within this ebb and flow is the call to embrace the present.
new community, new opportunities
A week ago we pulled our RV to a stop in Orlando, Florida. For the first time since September we are staying in the same RV park longer than one week. Additionally, we are parked among fellow RVing families–another fun first. While the situation is filled with promise and excitement, it has also been drenched with the prerequisite of our intention and initiation.
Typically there is time to settle into a new community and get to know your neighbors in a leisurely manner. No so on the road. My words of advice to our kids sounded something like this, “If you wait too long to make a friend, you may be saying good-bye to them the day after you meet.” Taking my own advice, I’ve had to choose to embrace the interactions of the moment, rather than be distracted by the possibility that in the future these faces may only be seen through my Instagram feed.
saying yes to today
This is where my grandmother’s words clung to my heart like the Spanish moss hanging from the nearby trees. My mind accepted this simple truth: Tomorrow is a mystery. Nothing beyond today is guaranteed. Embrace. Dig in. Engage.
The result has been a mixture of awkward first hellos leading to conversations, coffee, games, crafts, long walks, potlucks and new friendships. While it goes against the typical timeline, I believe that there is something valuable in living within deadlines of impending good-byes. Putting off conversations today could lead to never speaking at all. Delays could morph into missed relationships. How often does this happen without us noticing?
What does it matter anyway?
While there is inherent value in seizing the day, what does it matter when the rising sun will soon see us pulling out and waving good-bye to these newly forged friendships? It’s a question I have asked myself and one that could easily lead to relationship paralysis. The beautiful reality is that I don’t know. Today might be the day that my listening ear allows your wounded heart to heal a little more. Today your advice might route my course in a more productive direction.
Today might be our only day together or it may be the first of many. Unwrapping the present is only possible if I truly see it as a gift.
“Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one!” Ecclesiastes 9:9 The Message