This Moment

Here I am, sitting on the back deck, the sun has just set and behind me a sliver of the moon shines brightly against a sky darkening to velvet indigo with every passing second. The temperature is swiftly dropping out of the 80 degrees it began at when I came out to finish my bible study for the week. I can hear the dog down the street yapping kind of annoyingly, but also there's a symphony of crickets, frogs and other nighttime creatures making a melody that is blending with the sounds of chill acoustic tunes wafting from the computer speakers. There's a soft glow from the computer washing over my fingers as they type this. The stars are beginning to show themselves in the sky above me, like sparkling diamonds against that velvet background. On the horizon in front of me, I drink in the final outline of the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the giant tree in the backyard as the sun sets in the distance. The minutes pass rather slowly on nights like this.

Once in my life, I would have done almost anything to fill these moments with conversations, friends, and THINGS to do. No longer is that a goal of mine. I genuinely enjoy the opportunities for solace, for peace.

Yesterday, I met with a friend and we kind of had to do a couple of hours recap of our respective last few months, since we hadn't had a visit in awhile. I enjoy those times because it helps me see what God's been walking me through in a year. As I sat and talked to my sweet sister, I realized that God's been hammering things out in my life these last years to bring me to now. To a night like tonight, when I can sit on the porch and enjoy it for what it is and not chafe against the solitude, the calm, the 'stop.'

I associated passion with activity, movement, growth, direction....all the things the world demonstrates as zeal for life. I was wrong. Zest of life, the Abundant Life God offers is to be found not just in the excitement or storms of life or even the joyous occasions. No, it's to be found in *every* moment. It's fully living in every second of everyday. Being present in the moment. If I cannot BE in this moment - whatever it be - I am not living abundantly.

If in the morning, I sit down with my bowl of cereal and cup of coffee and think ahead to all the things that have to be done, mentally checking off my to-do list for the day, or the people I have to meet with, or chores to be done before next week's party or visitors, or whatever, I've failed. If I forget to enjoy the taste of that cup of coffee and appreciate it, if I forget to savor the crunch of the cereal in the cold milk, I fail. If I pass up a moment to savor a moment to thank Jesus for provision, I fail. Because there was a time when I didn't have money to buy milk, there was a time I didn't have a coffee maker. But I can't focus on the past either. If I sit at that same breakfast table, stewing over the day before when I didn't get my Sunday nap like usual, or contemplating how I didn't do vacuum the downstairs apartment like i should have, I fail. Focus on the future, focus on the past - whichever it is that is stopping you from the moment in front of you - is stopping you from having the "abundant life" God promises.

Tonight, as I sit on this porch as night has fully dawned, and I'm alone on our porch swing writing this, I am pouring every element of this night into my heart. I am thankful for this home. I am savoring the cooler air that I wished for weeks ago. I am looking up at the stars with the wonder of my toddler nephew and trying to find my favorite constellations. I am humming softly along with Ray Lamontagne at the moment, and appreciating the musical talent there. I'm looking back over my shoulder at the golden glowing fishhook of a moon rising over the tree line and remembering funny nursery rhymes. What a night. It's glorious. This moment is mine. Jesus gave it to me to savor. In this moment, I find abundance. Even the annoying dog barking is something to savor in it's own way, although I'd prefer a quieter night, maybe that dog is to represent something else for me. Or maybe it's just a dog barking in the night. This moment is still mine.


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