My most philosophical lesson this week came quite unexpectedly from my three year old.
I picked him up from preschool and we went with a friend to New Haven CT to volunteer at Love146 for a couple hours. (BTW, they are absolutely a fantastic organization, devoted to ending slavery and sex trafficking both in the US and abroad. Check them out!!)
Anyway, I had my friend drive because I’m not a city driver. Not remotely. Just this weekend I botched a simple parallel parking job in my tiny town and had people on the curb awkwardly giving me directions. I played it cool and joked that I’d love to tote those lovely people with me to help in my next driving fiasco. I don’t think they saw the humor in that.
But please, enough of me.
As my friend drove, my son inserted himself frequently into our conversation, and gave a running commentary of things he saw out the window. At one point while we were a long way from our destination, my little man suddenly perked up. “We’re Here!” He shouted in rapture, apparently believing that our shortcut off the main road meant we’d arrived where we intended to go.
And I laughed at my sweet kiddo, but my friend and I both agreed that in some ridiculously simple but profound way- YES, we are here.
We were there in a moment. No we hadn’t made it to where we planned to go, but that didn’t mean that the present was unimportant. That didn’t mean that we were exactly in the middle of a meaningful “here”.
Lately I’ve found my heart struggling with “here”. I find myself waiting to get through the morning routine, the bedtime routine (who am I kidding…there’s no routine)…just so I can savor a minute of peace at the end of the day. If I’m supposed to meet someone for coffee later, then I’m counting down till the “then”; if I’m planning out my next tattoo it feels so far away till just then… or lately I find myself waiting while God incubates something new in me- I know it’s growing there because I feel it- but the waiting part hardly seems fun. The “then and there already” would be much better.
But then I look at my three year old. This kid is all. in. No matter what he is feeling or expecting, he embraces each moment with every atom of his being.
If I tell him he can have an ice pop, the kid gasps in amazement; if we’re hanging out in line at Starbucks he is full-on dancing to the store music, making use of every spare inch of floor tile. If we’re at Walmart he’s going to embrace being a ninja turtle while we’re in the toy aisle.
If he sees a friend, even one he just met, that friend better not need a space bubble, because my son loves handing out enthusiastic hugs in the moment. Sure he gets mad- sure he throws a fit when things don’t go his way. But even that is a reminder of how fully immersed he is in “now”.
I get the sense that, for him, life is something that is here. now. And the beauty of that attitude is that whether he’s up or down, he’s engaged. He’s happy if an unexpected treat comes along; he’s not thinking about where he’s going next so any context is a social context; he’s not worried about where he’ll be in five minutes because that wide open field is calling his name right now.
Maybe that’s what God is trying to teach me. Matthew chapter 6 says “Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will worry about itself.” “God, give us TODAY our daily bread.” (What we need for this moment.) Or how about Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Why am I striving so hard for my way, my plans down the road, “later”- when there is rest letting go and believing God’s purpose will outlast, outdo, outweigh my own ideas.
Life is happening- now. And I don’t want to miss it. Even the hard parts- I’m believing there’s something now that is worth being present for. Now is going to happen whether I like it or not…so I might as well soak it in. Just ask my three year old…although, I wouldn’t take his advice on everything.
- Don’t forget to check in THIS Friday, June 23rd, for my next “Friend Post Friday”!!!! You won’t want to miss hearing from my good friend Audrey Beatty.
- AND the Gray Faith Study starts THIS Monday online! Check back here for the first video and discussion guide or follow along at https://www.facebook.com/lesstobemore/ I can’t wait to get started!