LIVING IN THE NOW
Jesus Christ is the same
Today is the first day of Wedding Week at my house.
WW has been the endpoint on our to-do list for months. Actually, that’s not completely true— WW has been the focal point of my to-do list. Even with all my hints and reminders and notes and suggestions, it has not entered Phil’s head that Wedding Week is the deadline when everything Must. Get. Done.
And maybe that’s why he’s positioned to have fun this week and I’m up ridiculously early, uptight and anxious because of all the to-do’s not crossed off The List.
I know that if I stay up late tonight and get up early tomorrow and work like a crazy woman I can still do it. The garage that resembles the aftermath of an earthquake, the books still in boxes that crowd my creative space, the guest room comforter that I haven’t replaced with that charming crisp comforter I saw in the catalogue— that catalogue that followed me to Firwood Cottage as if to say,
“Uh, Di… you really need newer, better, brighter, nicer stuff… let us help you! And we’ll offer you a discount so you can feel like you got a deal! Then you can put the old one that’s too-good-for-Goodwill in the garage…”
In just a few days everyone will see my not-doneness.
My sister, who is the best decorator in the world—the one whose Pinterest page I copy shamelessly, whose garage has never, ever been messy.
My daughter who been hearing stories about our new/old, way smaller, and more charming home but still hasn’t seen it and probably imagines it is nicer than it is.
And the rest of my kids whose eyes grew round with incredulity as they watched the process of turning what was a stinky, ugly 1969 ranch into a home their perfectionist mom can find rest in… and still cannot quite believe that I’ve really adopted the minimalist mentality they embrace.
And oh— I need to wash my windows! Add that to my list of not-dones.
Maybe the garage will wait for a day when I have time to dawdle through memories before I give the rest away. Maybe the rain is coming in a couple of days to wash the dust off the windows. And maybe I like those little hand prints silhouetted on the door to the patio— because when baby Scarlet comes this week she’ll see those markings of her last visit and feel right at home, right welcome at Amma and Pop’s house.
Maybe my list needn’t drive me. Maybe I am more than the sum total of what I haven’t got done. Maybe clean windows don’t define my worth as a woman.
And maybe it’s time I do what I’ve been learning. Because starting last spring and all this summer I’ve heard the wind of the Spirit whispering rest to my striving. I’ve been in a sort of remedial school of the Spirit— hearing, feeling, sensing an invitation into a new way of experiencing His love.
Of living fully in the present, of listening to Him in the moment— this moment.
A way of being that unchains me from my self-imposed obligations, setting me free to be aware of His speaking to me now, not later, not when my list is done, not when I have time.
All summer I’ve been going on worship walks. Not to be confused with power walks or prayer walks or the-dog-needs-walking walks. These are more like rambles, strolls through the woods near my house. No watch, no phone, just me.
And I notice.
How the wind cleans the firs and cedars of excess needles, blanketing the ground with pungent softness. The freshness of the sky, the pokiness of blackberry bushes, the spinning of spiders.
Mostly I notice Him; the maker of beauty, redeemer of wrecked things; this One whose specialty is bringing order to chaos and beauty to brokenness.
And on these rambling forays He has been teaching me to notice the now. What He is doing now, what He is saying now, who He is wanting me to love on right now.
Now is so entirely unnatural for me. I am a dreamer; a woman who lives in her head, who thinks up ideas and possibilities and plans. I live by lists, all those things I want to do in the hopes that I can capture that elusive sense of completion. Of dreams achieved.
I live, not in the now, but in the when.
When the children grow up, when the cottage is finished, the bills are paid, the book written, the garage organized…I’ll be done: happy, complete, and at peace.
And some of you live in the then. The happy days of how it used to be. You fill your moments with memories of a time that seemed less stressful, better, fuller, more satisfying and safe. You’re thankful… for the past, for what used to be.
When your belly didn’t bulge, when children didn’t bicker, when you were being pursued. You mourn days lost, a way of life you will never have again.
You live, not in the now, but in the then.
I think God is all for memories, and certainly all for dreams. But those are places to visit- occasionally. Take a vacation into the past. Go on an adventure into future possibilities. But…
Live in the now.
And so, I tuck The List away this week. I file it under “later”, close the drawer, and look up. I catch His grin and smile back.
He is here and He’s been here all along. He loves this family of mine, loves the way they laugh and tease and shed tears so easily and have to apologize so frequently. He loves their passion and their personalities, relishes their genuine, rare, flawed-but-faithful love for each other. And so do I.
I am drinking it in, great gulps of now.
Will you join me?
From my heart,
P.S. I am loving your comments! I felt welcomed back all week as I read your words and heard your hearts once again. Thank you. I feel richer when we’re talking.
P.S.S. If you want peeks at my week, I’ll be posting pictures shamelessly on Instagram. @dianewcomer is my moniker there, a fun place to notice the now.
still trying to reconcile my list with my reality
the one whose minimalist message has tugged at my too-much sensibilities long enough to convince me to learn to live simply.