“Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?…Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself…”
(Matthew 6:27,33-34a, Revised Standard Version)
For nearly 25 years I have been part of a 12 Step program of recovery. One of the bedrock principles of that way of life is the focus on living one day at a time, in the present moment. This is a spiritual discipline that is woven into the teachings of Christ and many of the great spiritual masters in the Judeo-Christian tradition. And it’s counter-cultural and, at times, very difficult!
Yesterday the youth group gathered. We reflected on the work of forgiveness that is ours as disciples of Jesus. One of the barriers to forgiving, we reflected, is the fact that we can easily get ‘stuck’ in the past. Carrying resentments, fostering fantasies of revenge scenarios where we get the chance (at last!) to ‘set things right’ once and for all, or simply rehearsing the litany of our wounds over and over are all ways that we can avoid living in the present and healing. This does not mean we do not honor the hurt and take care of ourselves, but it does mean a certain commitment to living in the present and seizing the gifts and blessings of this one moment, this sacred day given to us by our Creator. When you think about it, it’s all we have, and it is a gift. I was proud of our young people and the wisdom and insight they brought to our time of sharing.
Another temptation we can face is to escape the present by living in tomorrow. There can be much to worry about when we contemplate the uncertainty of the hopes, promises, possible pitfalls and decisions that await us in the future. The idea of prudent planning and seeking to provide stability, care and security for the future is commendable and important. There is a line we can cross, however, when excessive worry about these things can become a hindrance to the beauty and reality of what lies in front of us right now, in this moment.
I invite you today to live in the now, to see it as gift, opportunity and blessing.
“One we are able to grasp that each moment of our lives contains some sign of the will of God, we shall find in it all that our heart can desire. For what can there be more reasonable, more perfect, more divine than the will of God? … The present moment is always full of infinite treasures, it contains far more than you have the capacity to hold.” – from Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade.