I am constantly thinking about what is next. Even on good days when the worries and plans of the day don’t rush at me, they are still there. I imagine how the day will go. I plan what I will get done and wonder if there will be enough time. When I am doing one task, I am thinking about the next task.
If I am not thinking about the present, I’m often thinking about the past. I wonder whether a vacation will live up to the vacations of the past. I wonder whether the present can atone for mistakes of the past. I wonder whether the best has already happened.
Not so with Baby. Baby only knows the present. He can sit and stare at a balloon for long stretches of time. He can enjoy simply wiggling his arms and legs without getting bored. Each day–no matter how difficult the night or day before was–he wakes up, looks at me, and smiles. He does not assume today will be bad just because yesterday was.
He is not always rushing to do the next thing. For weeks he has been mastering the skills necessary to hold his head up when on his stomach and to roll over. He is still not all the way there, but he works on it a little each day. He loves to sit and “talk” to us. He isn’t always thinking about when he should eat again. He just eats when he is hungry, sleeps when he is tired (most of the time), and lives in the moment.
I remember taking the children I babysat to the playground. I was consumed with what the day would look like when we got home. But they loved the moment and lived in it.
There is something good about maturing and thinking about the future and remembering the past. But the present is a gift, and I too often miss it because I live in the glory of past memories or the hope of a better future. I need to be able enjoy my son’s smiles without wondering when his next nap will be so I can mop the floors. I need to be able to participate in a conversation with a friend without mentally planning the next day. I need to be able to not worry because “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34b).
My son pulls me into the present. He reminds me that I, too, am provided for and dependent, not on someone else but on God. He reminds me that it takes a certain type of discipline to live with focus–to focus only on the person in front of me, to enjoy staring up at the sky in wonder, to grow without rushing, to rest without worry.
“The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived- not always looked forward to as though the ‘real’ living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.” -Elisabeth Elliot
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” -Matthew 6:26-27
“Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.” -Frances R. Havergal