Over the weekend, I accompanied my older daughter to a memorial service for her friend’s dad. He was 45. We hadn’t been home from that service for more than a couple of hours when my Facebook feed blew up with the news that an acquaintance of mine had died following complications from gallbladder surgery. She leaves behind two elementary-school-aged children.
I shared last week that my focus for this year is to be present in the moment, and those two events on Saturday simply confirmed that focus for me. Neither one of those people thought they would leave this life early. The circumstances in both cases were tragic and unexpected. The children they leave behind keenly feel their loss.
I pray that my husband and I get to grow old and see our kids grow up. I pray that my kids will grow up and grow old. But the truth is that we never know what tomorrow may bring, so we have to make the most of today. And, honestly, there are too many days when I’m distracted by work, by technology, by worries about tomorrow to enjoy what today is bringing me.
So, today, I’m pondering the what ifs of living in today. Today, I’m wondering what would happen if we all changed our thinking and instead of spending so much time worrying about the future we enjoyed the simple moments of today.
What if when our kids speak, we put down whatever we’re doing and look them in the eyes and really listen?
What if we set aside our smart phones and iPads and chose to interact with our families?
What if when our kids ask to sit on our laps and snuggle, we didn’t put them off because we’re in the middle of something?
What if when our children need help building a Lego set or setting up a dollhouse, we took the time to help them even if it means dinner is going to be late?
What if when our kids have questions about God and the world around them, we took the time to help them investigate the answers instead of giving them a pat answer?
What if we simply took the time to sit and enjoy God’s presence instead of rushing headlong into our day?
We’re not promised tomorrow. God tells us to make the most of today: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34). If we choose the things that are best — time with our families and time with God — we will never look back and regret the choices we made. If each day is focused on enjoying the moments we have, we will never wonder where the time went.
And if we make the effort to be present for our kids and spouses and to spend time with God, we will never have to wonder if our lives were spent in the pursuit of what was important. We will live rich, full lives filled with the things that matter.
More than anything, that’s what I want in 2014. How about you?