Living in the moment is a practice that many of us struggle with. As a child, I was taught to be productive, to accomplish things, to make the most of every day. Sitting in a comfortable chair with a book was met by the question, ” Don’t you have anything better to do?” In my mind, I didn’t. But the seed of the need to be busy/active was firmly planted and watered in my childhood and teen years. And the seeds of living in the past not in the now were even more strongly modeled.
Much later as an adult, I learned that “being with” God in the moment was as important as “doing for” God. But it was harder to learn how to live in the now – not in the past or the future. This post, first published in May of 2015, describes one of the experiences that taught me the importance of freely giving myself over to the now.
We often talked about what we could do together outside of work. I was the Director of Spiritual Formation and she was the Director of Worship Arts; our schedules were crazy. We could never seem to get our act together. Finally, we decided to spend a day at Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park about thirty miles away in Grand Rapids, Michigan which boasted sprawling botanical gardens, a tropical conservatory, outdoor sculptures, and indoor art exhibits.
The day finally came. We felt like kids skipping school. When we got to the park we decided to spend a few hours “on retreat” and then meet for lunch. I wandered through the gardens and then headed toward a large man-made waterfall that I remembered from past visits. I was dismayed to see that the waterfall had been “closed” for maintenance. I sat on a bench under a tree close by intending to read, but I soon put the book down and watched the families and couples and senior citizens walking by. I thought happily that I was living in the now.
Soon it was time to rejoin Cathy for lunch. As I headed back toward the café, I saw her coming toward me, barefoot and exuberant. I grinned back at her. “What have you been doing?” I asked.
I’ve been dancing for the Lord,” she said excitedly. “What?” I responded in disbelief. “Where?”
“There! “she pointed. “I saw the stage and I had music on my iPod so I decided to dance to the 23rd Psalm.”
Nothing moves me more than Cathy’s sacred dancing, and I fervently wished I had been there.
“Do it again,” I pleaded.
She looked at me in disbelief. “It wasn’t for people to see. It was for the Lord!”