“Here and There”

WORDS FROM W.W. November 23, 2011

I find myself thinking about the “not yet” quite often these days.
When the car loan gets paid off!
The next vacation away!
Easter…even though it’s yet to be Christmas!
The next wedding of one of our children…even though no one is even engaged!
The next book I will read…even though I’m only half-way through the 500 page book I’m presently reading!
What’s for dinner…even though I’m staring at my breakfast yogurt and fruit (OK! That’s a very valid one!)
A good night’s sleep… even though I just woke up from the last one!

Planning ahead is encouraged, but I seem to have a hard time living in the present. The Bible instructs us to keep “the here” and “the there” both in perspective. Jesus warns of consequences if we are so focused on the wants of the present (Luke 12:13-34), that we can’t think about the things of the Kingdom of God. On the other hand, in promoting the quality of being prepared, Solomon wrote in Proverbs 21:20 “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”
Finding the balance is a slow walk of humble awareness.
How can I be wholly present in the moment, while envisioning the possibilities and dreams of the future? How can I be here, while walking towards “there?”
Sometimes it seems to be an easy escape to think about “there.” The “here” is filled with so many problems that there seems to be a great sense of peace to think about what might be. If my present is dysfunctional, let me populate my thoughts with a world that is perfectly functional.
On the other hand, recent years has seen several examples played out where the futures of our children’s children have been mortgaged for the sake of the present.
The people of God struggle with the “here and there” as well. If too much attention is placed on what will be, people feel not cared for in the present; but if we focus so much on the present we will never get to the what will be.
Personally, I will come to a Thanksgiving gathering tomorrow delighted to spend time with spouse, kids, and grandkids (and perhaps even the cat!), but aware that sometime in the midst of the festivities I will begin to think about Sunday sermon preparation, tasks to perform next week, and Buddy Basketball being just six weeks away. Perhaps I’ll begin our Thanksgiving meal with a prayer that says, “O Lord, thank you for your provision, and thank you for these moments. Help me, Lord, to be present in the here! Amen!

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