Some people find it impossible to enjoy the moment because they are obsessed with the past or preoccupied with the future. That is not true about me. I have am blessed with the ability to fully live in the moment.
This came into play last year on the final day of the National Baby Food Festival. It was the day of the Grand Parade. The parade came at the end of a week long festival in which our oldest daughter Holly was named the festival Queen. I was given the honor of driving the float bearing the Queen’s court. The parade went right down a major street in the town where we had lived and pastored for the past six years.
It was a perfect Saturday morning, sunny and cool. Holly sat on the queen’s throne. Her court rode with her. It was a very, very happy day for Holly and for each of us. I adjusted the rear view mirrors so I could watch my daughter’s face while we drove the parade route. All along the way were friends and family members each celebrating with us and shouting congratulations to Holly and taking pictures. “There’s Holly. Hi, Holly!” Holly smiled and waved back, radiant. Her beautiful brown eyes glistened with joy, just like her mother’s.
In what seemed like moments we reached the east end of the street and the parade was over. I wanted to go loop around cover the parade route again. In front of us was a marching band and two convertibles one bearing the prince and the other the princess of the festival.
The parade ended on the east end of the street and took a sharp turn to the south. When we turned the corner the marching band had dissipated. The two convertibles ahead of us disappeared. I didn’t notice where they went. The parade entries behind kept coming and for the first time all day it occurred to me that I did not know where to go. I vaguely remembered that they had given me a sheet of paper the night before with instructions but in the confusion and celebration I had misplaced it. I had been living in the moment through the whole parade, but now I had no idea where to go or what to do with the float or where to deposit my cargo of young beauties. I couldn’t stop, the whole parade was behind me. The street ahead was barricaded. I couldn’t turn to the east because I would have to pull the parade with a load of beauty queens into traffic on the main highway. It seemed that everyone watched me with amusement but no one offered any help. I had been living in the moment through the whole parade without a single thought about what I would do at the end.
Finally I asked the young ladies to get off the float while I pulled out onto the main road to turn around. They waited in their formal dresses on the street corner while I got the whole rig safely turned around. Eventually I was able to return the float to the origin of the parade and the young ladies re-joined their families.
I am glad that I have the ability to fully enjoy the moment without being burdened by the past or worried about the future, but I chastised myself for not planning ahead. The only thing injured was my ego, but it made me think. Such is life for most people. It is a parade, perhaps pleasant enough, but it is over much faster than we expect and many have made no concrete plans for the end. Living in the moment is good but not making concrete plans for eternity is tragic.
Live while you live and milk all the joy available from every day but take time to do some quiet thinking about ultimate things. Where do you stand with God? Where will you spend eternity. Where will you go when life comes to an end? Carpe Diem… Seize the day, but remember to think eternity. Be sure you know where you are going when the parade of life comes to an end.