The Reality Of The Present
This past summer, while driving on the scenic Highway 1 in California, I stopped in the little town of Cambria on the coast of the Pacific Ocean to look around and have lunch.
During my stroll, I happened upon an A-frame sign that was set up outside of a shop with these words written on it:
Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.
I took a photo of that sign with my phone because it spoke to me. It spoke directly into the issues I’d been dealing with as I traveled and reflected on my life, the Universe, and everything.
You see, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time over the past year letting yesterday use up too much of my today.
I also expend way too much energy looking back on my mistakes, bad decisions, wrong turns, and all of the things I couldn’t control that negatively impacted my life.
And further, I also find myself projecting all of those worries into the future.
What gets lost in all this spinning and worrying is that all I have is today. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn’t promised, but today is right now. It’s what we have.
In his excellent book The Wisdom of Insecurity, Alan Watt had this to say about the reality of the present:
“Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live. There is no other reality than present reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly.”
How often do we miss out on the beauty and wonder of what Fr. Richard Rohr calls the “naked now” because we’re too busy regretting yesterday and worrying about tomorrow?
Jesus taught his followers repeatedly about the peace that comes when we live in the moment when we are fully present in the present. He knew that the temptation to do otherwise was substantial and also destructive.
If we want to become the people God longs for us to be, we need to learn not to let yesterday use up too much of today. Further, we must understand what it means to surrender tomorrow to the One who is already preparing a place for us.
Live in the moments today. Let the reality of the present become a gift of peace for you. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.