Your Last Moment –
Last night me, Beth and some friends gathered around a fire and roasted wieners, shared how are weeks were going and then rushed inside when it started raining. There wasn’t anything earth-shattering about the evening but that’s what made it special.
Too often, while living in the present moment, our minds are busy thinking about the moments to come or the moments that have gone by. We are rarely present mentally, emotionally, spiritually, in the present moment.
To treat each moment as if it is our last is a difficult discipline but it starts with the understanding that the present moment is truly the only one available to us. The moments which have come and gone are no longer accessible to us. We cannot relive or change them. The moments which are ahead are unpredictable and not within our power to get to until they become the present moment.
This is why the present moment is so special and powerful. It is in this moment where life and all its possibilities and wonder exist. We miss it so often but if we can embrace it, cherish it, drain each ounce of precious promise out of it our lives will be enriched beyond our wildest dreams.
There are seasons of life where nothing feels certain. Times when you aren’t sure what happens next. Places on the road where the truth of life’s unpredictability is too real.
This is where I am now, at a place where many things are uncertain, challenges and difficulties are everywhere. Worry and frustration over people I love hurting and going through difficult times and trials, no way of knowing how it will all work out in the end. Concern over other aspects of life that are out of my control. Finding my way slowly and, at times, painfully through circumstances I wasn’t expecting or desiring.
In seasons such as these being open, staying open seems a humongous task. My wants and needs are not evil or bad but I know they will only bring suffering if I choose to believe they are the only way. Accepting whatever life throws at me, walking life’s path not being able to see far ahead, letting go of anything preconceived and accepting what is given will take courage.
It seems to always come back to trust and acceptance.
Cat Near a Green Tin Roof –
This morning I was letting the dog out for his business appointment and after I put him back in the house, something on the roof near our green tin topped porch caught my eye. It was a cat. This was a surprise because we don’t own a cat and I was unsure how he got on the roof. I; “Meowed” at it like most people do when the see a cat and it; “Meowed” back at me. I warned it as I was leaving that the Siberian Husky inside the house doesn’t take kindly to cats, squirrels, ground hogs, possums, or anything small and furry. It then turned around and disappeared to the other side of the roof.
Life never stops surprising me, catching me off guard and making the unexpected almost expected. I’m not sure what happened to the cat. I; “Meowed” when I got home this afternoon but to no avail. Maybe I’ll see it again, hopefully before our dog; Trooper does. The one thing I do know is life won’t stop being so unpredictable. Blessings and curses, good and bad, positive or negative, probably a lot of in between stuff, will keep showing up and sooner or later I’ll stop being so surprised.
New Plan –
After my incarcerated fathers class this afternoon I met with a resident for a time of mentoring. He was excited because he had received a letter from his estranged daughter and his time for release is coming quickly. We discussed his plans for getting out; what he was going to do, where he was going to go, short-term and long-term goals. After he laid out his plan I asked him what was plan B and plan C? I explained that one of the keys to not coming back was his ability to adjust to the unexpected. “Hopefully,’ I said, ‘everything goes well but in case it doesn’t, how will you reflect, react and remain on the right path?'” He told me he would work on plan C and discuss it when we meet again in a couple of weeks.
Wisdom stresses the need to be flexible in our plans, pursuits and purposes. Life’s journey has a way of surprising us with its twists and turns and not being able to correct our course can leave us lost in an unpredictable world.
Our long awaited cabin/shed arrived yesterday evening. To say my wife was excited is a tremendous understatement! We ordered it a few months ago and to finally have it sitting on our property is a relief.
After a couple of guys set it in place we made a list of a few items which needed to be done so we could get the most out it. One was we couldn’t open a side door until some excavating was done.
This morning I set about removing dirt, rocks and building a small ramp to bridge the gap between the yard and the door. The previous home owners at one time had a large structure where the shed now sits and some of the old concrete blocks are still buried. I had already hauled a couple away and as I was working on the next one, unbeknownst to me, I was disturbing a furry creature’s home. When I began to lift the block a field mouse ran out of his now “mobile” home onto my hand and part way up my arm.
Instinct took over and I jumped, shaking the little fella off and he ran under the building. When I figured out what happened I yelled to the tiny animal whose home I just destroyed; “Sorry lil’ guy!” but I don’t think he heard me.
Life is full of little and big surprises. We truly can’t predict or anticipate what’s going to happen next. It’s the unexpectedness that makes it both adventurous and arduous. Sometimes we can just shake off the surprises while other ones may affect us for a long time.
Wisdom tells us that it is the surprises that show us our true selves. We drop the masks and allow who we are, what we are, who and what we love, to be seen. The surprises bring us an awareness of self that could remain hidden if life always went according to plan.
This morning a raging thunderstorm passed through the area bringing high winds, torrential rains and lots of lightning! Even though the sky was a bright shade of grey the flashes lit it up. Several times my eyes grew wide with wonder at the power and ferocity which was being displayed. In the midst of the downpour I was sitting at a traffic signal when another visual burst attracted my eye. It surprised me and as I whipped my head around I noticed it was only a strobe light on the top of a work truck.
The strobe light, though it startled me, didn’t invoke in me the awe the lightning had conjured within. It wasn’t nearly as bright, the predictable, rhythmic flashing wasn’t as inspiring and frightening as the streaks of energy and chaos which seemed to appear out of nowhere without advanced notice.
I reflected upon the two lights and the unpredictability of life. We like to think that a controlled, managed, structured existence is best. Certainly we wouldn’t allow pain, heartache, difficulties to strike without warning. We’d never be surprised by disappointment, disease and death. There would be a steady, fixed, consistent way of being but what would we lose?
Wisdom tells us it is in the unforeseeable, uncertain, unplanned parts of life when our eyes, heart and spirits are open to awe and wonder. It is in these times and seasons when we are inspired, strengthened and consider possibilities of which we’ve never dreamed.
It is the unexpectedness of life which lights up the soul. Don’t settle for a dim imitation.