Living in the Present versus the Future
My youngest son and I had been out early Saturday morning placing flags on the grave-sites of Veterans for Memorial Day. This is a service project the two of us do every year. A special time for us to spend together, in the present. We look forward to the future service when we are finished.
We were on our way home, along a street that is very familiar to me. On this particular road, the east and west traffic are divided by a concrete drainage area. There is cross traffic intersection with an all-way stop. I pulled up to the stop sign. From the stop sign you can see the traffic light at the intersection about 500 feet ahead. As I pulled to a stop, I saw that the light ahead was red. For some reason, I focused in on the red-light. I kept waiting for it to turn green. The car next to me started to go and it snapped me out of the intense focus I had on the light. I realized I was waiting for the light to turn green so I could go through the stop sign. Really? Why did I do that?
My son asked what I was doing and when I explained he started laughing. It made me think though. I was so focused on what lay ahead that I was missing the present situation. Don’t we all do that at times? Should we though? Should we hyper focus on the future, with either worry or fretting on what is to come, to the extent that we don’t really live in the present. By doing this we may miss the joys, experiences, friendships and other relationships that are all around us each day.
Plan for the Future
I’m not saying you shouldn’t plan for the future, your children’s college education, make retirement plans, plan for vacations or major projects around your home……. BUT…. there is an appropriate amount of planning versus excessive worrying and obsessing over what is to come. Live in the present, be with the people around you. Enjoy the moments you live in, you may miss a lesson being taught or a joy that God has sent your way. You may even miss a relationship that will be more important to you than you could possibly imagine.
Live in the Present
For me, having a spouse with a chronic illness tends to make me focus on the future. Planning for future doctor visits or tests or wondering what the future will hold for us. Unfortunately doing so takes my focus away from today. It may cause me to miss what my children are trying to show me they have accomplished, decline a coffee invitation with a friend or even completely fail to see a blessing I have been given. I don’t want to miss out on those experiences.
Enjoy the Moments
Learn to live in the present. Be aware of your day to day life and all that is going on around you. Enjoy the moments. Cherish your friendships. Be present with your family. Plan for the future, but don’t hyper focus on it. Live today as we are not promised tomorrow.
Do you tend to hyper focus on the future? Have you missed out on the present because of excessively looking towards the future? I would love to hear about it.