March 26th, 2008

bundled up, walkabout, snow

Living in the Moment

My life is defined by lists: Things to do, people to call, errands to run, verses to remember, prayers to repeat again and again. I'm a daughter, I'm a sister, I'm a wife, I'm a mother, I'm a friend.

In the story of the grasshopper and the ant, I am a poor ant, and I am a sad grasshopper. I have danced and sung merrily, I have shopped until my credit dropped. And yet, I spend too much time fretting about the future, worrying and even indulging in fear and future sorrow. I spend so much time avoiding future woe, that I fail to complete the many lists of preparation that I compile.

I am learning to live in the moment. This is a radical concept to me, but I have already seen the benefits to be gained.

Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.¹

I have a wild past: One which many might remember with pride; others might hide in shame. I understand the benefit of not dwelling in the past. It is a useful storehouse for me, filled with happy memories and sad. I can sort through these memories and learn much. However, should I soak in the past until my brain prunes up, I will be too waterlogged to live in the present.

I live now in the consequences of my past. I am at the very outset of healing lost intimacy with Flar. Rather than dwell on past hurts and arguments, rather than fear a future continuing to live behind high walls, I am re-learning how to open up to him. I am learning to share what is in my heart without second guessing his response, without expecting to be shutdown or ignored. This is scary, fragile territory. I feel that I have created my own mine-field of past code phrases, that I have trained Flar to expect high drama from his wife. But as I learn how to set aside my own pictures of the unknown future, I find that the present is a very comfy place to be with Flar.

Be still, and know that I am God!²

My older son is graduating from high school this spring, and he will be matriculating at Rice University in Houston this fall. When I am asked about whether I will be sad to see him go, I respond that I have not looked that far ahead yet. I am excited for him -- excited with him about this new adventure. He is an excellent student and I am pleased for every recognition of this. He is a conscientious, yet playful young man, and I greatly enjoy his company. It is easy to live in the moment with Critter.

My younger son is our family eccentric. He came to need glasses much later in life than the rest of us, and he has lost two pairs (so far) due to his preference for a softer world with blurred edges. He struggles in school. He does not have difficulty learning; he has difficulty caring about what some of his teachers teach. He has difficulty using their methods when his own are so much more natural. He has difficulty revealing the insides of his quirky brain, from showing how he's solved a math problem to writing out his reaction to a work of art. It is so tempting to live instead in his future. He dreams of becoming a chef, making his living and living his life in the nocturnal cycles he prefers.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.³

Today, I face a frightening future. I remind myself to live in the moment and have faith in God.

Flar is a kidney patient. He has a condition which has caused a gradual, then steadier, decline in his kidney function. He is on the waiting list for a transplant, and has a good chance of being offered a kidney within the next year. We have spent this week together in the company of doctors and nurses.

It began with the removal of a troublesome big toenail. I have washed Flar's foot and cared for him even as we leaned in church about Christ washing His disciples' feet, and urging us to serve each other. His toe is healing nicely, but complications have set in, and we find ourselves facing the next stage in Flar's journey. He will be getting a Tenckhoff Cathether placed on April 10th or 11th, and once it is healed, we will be trained in Peritoneal Dialysis, which is a nightly regimen.

I want to be supportive and helpful to Flar; I don't want to add my fears and tears to his already significant load of cares. I am best served by living in the moment and not borrowing tomorrow's sorrows and burdens for today.

There are moments for me to sob and lean on Jesus' strong shoulders. When I can call out to Him to grant Flar the time he needs here. Moments to rest my head and put away any brave face that I may have managed to produce.

So I Turn up the music ... Let it all out⁴ and praise God for the time we have together and the healing that He has already begun.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.⁵

1. Matthew 6:34
2. Psalms 46:10
3. Jeremiah 29:11
4. How You Live (Turn Up The Music)
5. Philippians 1:6

This has been my entry for the LJ Idol writing competition, Topic 20: Open Topic
This week, the entries will be judged by four gatekeepers. The quality of entries continues to improve each week; I encourage you to check out all of the work that has been submitted.