Are we living in the moment?
What does that mean, anyway?
We hear this all the time, don’t we? I would like to share a memory and an observation with you. These two in tandem help me to understand what it means to live in the moment.
Almost forty-two years ago, I had the singular honor of leading the Naval Training Center-San Diego Drum and Bugle Corps onto the playing field at Jack Murphy Stadium. We played the national anthem before the San Diego Padres game with the Montreal Expos.
Though much water has passed under the bridge since then, I remember it like it was yesterday. Well, I remember part of the experience quite vividly.
I was the “Guide-on Bearer.” It was so cool to stride out of the tunnel in front of the D & B Corps carrying my company’s colors, with the drums behind me beating — no! thunderously echoing — the rhythmic cadence. The stadium was throbbing with sound. My heart was pounding!
I remember the preoccupied crowd stopping what they were doing and fixing their attention on our little group. Once we led the various components of our “special company” on to the field, I remember the “wows” and the “oohs” as the crack rifle team performed their drills. I remember the muffled tones of the crowd singing along with us we played the Star Spangled Banner. And, more than anything else, I remember the near-deafening roar of the crowd, which started before we finished the national anthem and reached a crescendo when we stopped playing. It literally made my chest vibrate and my ears buzz.
I remember all of this as though it happened yesterday, but I don’t remember who won the game. I don’t remember who pitched. I could do some research and find these details; but, while these mattered very much to some people at the time, there is really no point in doing so now.
That leads me to my observation:
The thing that matters to me now is the memory of the moment—being in the moment and the moment being in me.
In most of life’s moments, it is not whether we win or lose that matters, it is how we play the game.
Okay. That’s not original. It is also stating the obvious. But it is an important maxim which seems to be fading from our national repository of quotable quotes.
We are becoming a $ucce$$ driven, win-at-any-cost-culture that misses many of life’s memorable moments because we live with ours eyes fixed on the scoreboard.
The T-shirt I saw some time back summarizes this mentality. In bold print it declared:
He Who Dies
with the Most Toys
Oftentimes, rather than simply enjoying the journey, we live like we are caught up in a never-ending-episode of “The Amazing Race.” We become obsessed with winning the next leg of the contest.
We do not take time to help those who are running the race with us, since that might give them an advantage, causing us to lose a round. People become pawns. Tolerated? Yes, but only for what they can do for us. They are not appreciated for who they are—unique and special creations of a loving Heavenly Father.
Think about it
Have our standards for success gotten so far out of whack? I fear they have, or are headed that way, at least. Have we forgotten that the thing that matters most is truly being in all the moments that make up our lives, so we can be difference makers for good and for God?
So, this memory of an historically distant event generates an observation that is close to my heart:
I believe we need to keep our hearts centered in God
each and every moment that we live.
This is, perhaps, the ultimate challenge of life. It is not easy. No one is successful all of the time. Thus, we have yet another reminder of our constant need for grace.
Still, we need to trust in God to have us where He wants us to be in all of the moments of our lives. We simply need to walk by faith into each and every place He leads—into the lives of all the people He puts in our paths—remembering we are here for good and for God.
- May God give each of us wisdom as we choose what type of memories we are making in all of the moments we live.
- May God give us the necessary patience to develop the kind of relationships needed to bless one another and encourage one another to reach the ultimate finish line.
- May God give us courage to do more than rail on at the failings of others and simply be the change we know is needed in our world today.
- May God help us to remember we are, individually and collectively, His “masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (cf. Ephesians 2:10)
© Bill Williams, a fellow sojourner