One of the hardest things in the world for me is to live in the moment. I’m always looking ahead. When my daughter was a baby, I couldn’t wait until she got to be three or four and could talk and use the bathroom on her own (ok, bad example, every parent who’s ever lived looks forward to that!) Now she’s six, and doing all that and more, and yet I look forward to when she’s eight or nine. Standing waiting for the school bus with her, we throw the Nerf football around. She flings it underhanded and often innacurately. How I long for when she’ll throw it like I can.
Looking to the future is human nature. We’re always interested in what comes next. But how often we miss out on the greatness of the moment we’re in right now. Truly living for the moment, and in the moment, is one of the most difficult things in the entire Christian experience. The very nature of our faith is based on the expectation of a future event: the return of our Savior and the coming of His Kingdom. We are commanded to wait and watch vigilantly for His coming.
As great as that day will be, the fact is, God gives us some pretty great moments right here, right now. When I catch myself longing for my daughter to be older, I try to remind myself that not only will the day come when she can chuck that Aaron Rodgers spiral, another day will come. A day when playing catch with Dad isn’t cool anymore. A day when, instead of the school bus picking her up, it will be her friends, or (God forbid!) a boyfriend. Actually she’ll probably be the one doing the picking up, since she’s the oldest kid in her kindergarten. Looking too far ahead, we miss those moments.
Sometimes, ironically, the moments we want to pass the quickest at the time are the ones we later on wish had lasted just a bit longer. As a kid, we once moved to a place where I ended up having few friends, and was a bit of an outsider. I prayed and prayed that we’d move back to the town and state we’d lived in before moving to that place. Miraculously, God answered that prayer and my dad got transferred back to a town near to where we’d moved from. We settled in and life was better, but then that summer, I got an unexpected surprise. The class I’d left behind sent me a yearbook, signed by everyone. Some of the kids wrote how much they missed me, and how school wasn’t the same without me. It was eye opening to my teenaged mind that circumstances which seemed so unbearable at the time, were not at all what they seemed. After that, I almost found myself wanting to move back there.
God’s Kingdom will come. I’ll be happy when it does. But in the meantime, you and I need to catch ourselves when we say “I’ll be happy when…” and realize that when, more often than not, should be right now.