Lately I am reminded of this idea of outrunning the light—of devoting mental space and worry to a time that’s not yet here. When we are waiting for something: a change to come, an answer to be given, a circumstance to let up, we can feel paralyzed. I’ve often likened waiting like this to living in darkness; I don’t know what’s coming next.
I know people who get excited about the unknown. They love feeling out of control; like anything can happen. The older I get, that’s just not me. It’s not that I’m under the delusion that I’m in control of everything—I know I control very little. But I like to know what’s coming.
I’ve been ruminating on a line from the Avett Brothers song “Live and Die” that says, “All it will take is just one moment and you can say good-bye to how we had it planned.” Except it’s taking me far longer than one moment.
So many things in our life, from where we live to what we do, are far outside what I had previously been able to imagine. For them I am unspeakably grateful. Still, there are other things I thought would be different at this point, and they just aren’t. My need to acknowledge these— and mourn them— has surprised me more than their lack of existence in the first place.
I’m not dismissing the role or importance of responsibility and planning for the future to the best that you can. I am a born planner; I thrive on it. Always there is some sort of balance between faith and diligence. But there are things that cannot be predicted and days that cannot be planned. I wonder where we will end up, and when that will change. I wonder what the makeup of our family will look like in the end. I wonder who will join us that isn’t here yet. I wonder when and how. Sometimes this wonder is healthy and hopeful, and sometimes it is problematic in its ability to distract.
When I focus on what may or may not come, whether it be in wonder or worry, I take my focus off the blessings I’ve already been given and the responsibilities I am currently charged with. I fully believe it’s essential to dream and to wonder. But my priority must be to make beautiful things—whether they be investing in our community, building friendships, looking for opportunities to show love and share kindness, or making memories with my husband and our quickly growing children—right now, with what I already have in front of me.
I will not often know what’s coming, and even when I do, it’s bound to change. But I can do my best with what I’ve got where I am. And I can commit to striving to live in the light of this moment and learn through and from it—even when it brings with it uncertainty about what may follow.
Today I stumbled upon a beautiful reminder, not surprisingly, while in search of something else:
“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
Let’s live in the light of today.