Patricia and I just got back from visiting Italy. It is one of our favorite places and we made some great memories in the process. I remember one day in particular, in Florence, in a restaurant, enjoying a good meal. As we sat there I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Be present, be in the moment, savor this time with Patricia.” Usually I want to eat and move on to other things. Pack as much into a day as possible. But not that day. That day I was deliberately recording a “holy” and “sacred” memory.
May I encourage you to believe that God is working not just in the religious parts of our lives, but in the everyday, mundane, common parts as well? God is sovereign in both the secular and the sacred. And, if we think about it, aren’t all moments in life “sacred?” G.K. Chesterton once said:
You say grace before meals. All right, but I say grace before the concert and the
opera, and grace before the play, and grace before I open a book, and grace
before sketching, painting, swimming, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and
grace before I dip the pen in ink.
All of us need to come to attention, slow down, and reflect deeply on the ways God has shown himself in the simplest of pleasures. For instance, the next time you are at a sports event or concert, surrounded by thousands of people, food, cheering, craziness, stop! Think deeply about what you are experiencing in that very moment. Pause, look at your family, your friends, see the “sacred” in sharing a day with them. Take your eyes off of the game or the artists and observe the faces all around you. Be attentive to God’s presence in them. Then reach over and touch someone who means the world to you. Be fully aware of just how blessed you are. Be thankful, be present, be attentive.
Have this same attitude as you pull out of your driveway, or take out the trash, or pick up a pen or pencil to write. Every moment, every encounter, can be a “holy” moment, a “holy” opportunity, for deeper intimacy with God. Psalm 118:24 reminds us that, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Take hold of it NOW. The past is history. The future is mystery. The only time we really have is now, just this moment.
I bought the Back to the Future Trilogy not long ago because I love those movies. The date punched into the computer in the DeLorean is 10-26-85. That is the day our daughter, Lacey, was born. In the movie, Marty McFly and the Doc whiz back and forth from the past to the future. The moral of these movies is that when you try to live in the past or the future, life becomes so much more complicated. Marty McFly finally learns that it is better to live fully, gladly, in the now.
Do you know what I have decided? I have decided to leave time travel to the movies and, these mental trips I make to the past and future, are going to take up less and less of my time. I want to be “glad” and “rejoice” in the now. Like that special day Patricia and I spent in Florence. John Lennon was right; “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”