There once was a man who while at work eagerly awaited his return home. This same man would plan and long for the day vacation would finally come and he would have a week of restful, quality time with his family. This man would plan the details of romantic dates with his wife. He had a vision of what it would be like and he looked to it with eager anticipation. But whenever the time he awaited finally arrived he got distracted. Either the details of the plans got in the way, or someone else's mood, or perhaps the idea of it all was much more exciting then what actually was. It was like he forgot how to live in the moment. Instead of enjoying himself and relishing in his family, the moments passed by without relevance and his precious time was squandered.
Perhaps it is human nature to live in constant anticipation, but if we are always looking ahead to what is to come, what are we missing in the present?
I've been reading a devotional (highly recommend) by Jen Hatmaker called "Out of the Spin Cycle". In her chapter named, "Today is Tomorrow's Yesterday" she writes about Exodus 16 and how the Israelites were wandering in the desert without food or drink. The Lord told Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions" (Exodus 16:4). Everyone had as much as they needed and whatever they didn't eat that day would spoil (Exodus 16:17-20).
Hatmaker's take on this passage is this:
"Don't obsess about tomorrow. Live in this day, without worrying about what you'll do or need later. What is nourishment today will be spoiled by tomorrow. Enjoy it today or enjoy it never."Life is short. It feels like just yesterday when my children were babies. When they were under my care all day. In each phase of life I have struggled to not look with anticipation to the next phase; the end of breastfeeding, done with the diapers, able to dress and feed themselves, preschool, full-day kindergarten... Once we reached those milestones new ones take their places; middle school, pre-teen attitudes, pimples, heartbreak, learning to drive. Oh, my! I don't even want to go there yet!
The loves in my life will not always be here. I don't want to look with anticipation to the future and miss what is happening right now, today. I don't want to be so busy worrying about tomorrow that I forget the beauty of today. I don't want to squander my opportunities and allow myself to become so distracted by life that I don't take the opportunity to snuggle my sick seven-year old or play a video game with my nine-year old. You can't go back. You don't get a do-over on those opportunities. Your time is precious, if not to you then to someone who loves you. Be here, now.
Valentine's Day is just another reason to stop, take it all in, and appreciate who you have. Celebrate the loves in your life.
"Enjoy it today or enjoy it never."