Piano notes fill the air and I let the music play as I wake up. Another day announced by the CD alarm clock in present tense. Feet on floor find their way to the coffee that recently stopped dripping. Cup filled, I return to warmth of patchwork quilt for prayers.
From patchwork covers, I see my closet shelf. On it are items that remind me of places, trips taken, and who was with me. Thoughts wander and suddenly a day is re-created. I picture again the departure area of Gatwick Airport where I bought the laptop bag with wheels. I’m there and there’s Cadbury chocolate everywhere and tea with milk and my youngest daughter, too. I feel a longing begin to grow for those days we spent introducing ourselves to England and Scotland for the first time. It would not be our last.
I spy a shoe box that reminds me of the networking group that meant so much when I was unemployed. I bought professional pumps for job interviews that never happened. I found myself among a group of encouragers, meeting together weekly over (what else?) coffee, passing out business cards and many taking my resume with smiles and advice. While my heart needed crutches some days, these new shoes and new friends helped me stand and I miss the connection.
A bookshelf now resides in a corner and I remember heaving it from dining room to new office in another city after that same daughter moved out on her own, trying hard to fill the space with something new that represented me so the place didn’t look so much like an empty nest, where more than one voice used to be heard, where stir-fry for two was stilled cooked for weeks without stopping to consider servings.
I can stop and remember, but not for too long or there will be something I miss and before you can say “snap,” a longing is birthed like a bird choosing flight against its migratory path. Suddenly I’m out of the moment I am in, prayers forgotten, and have returned to a day long ago. And there’s nothing wrong with remembering, with cherishing, unless it becomes a desire over the present.
Certain days are remembered fondly in the heart, but I can’t give in or live in those thoughts like old Miss Havisham of Great Expectations who lived her days away in her wedding dress with all the clocks in the house stopped, still hoping for what should have been or what was. No, I cannot afford that because those days have been lived. If I remain there in my thoughts, my heart follows. That is our design ~ “Where your heart is, there your treasure is found.” (Matthew 6:21) Whatever path you choose will become your focus, and some paths will consume you.
I can look back and see God in days before, but I remain there long enough to remember and be thankful, counting gifts. To continue moving forward with Him, I must discover Him in the present, the now – this moment. For He is “the God of the present tense.” He is here with me now, speaking to me now, leading and changing me, and revealing more of who He is today.
The past places, sunny afternoons by train, and inner deliverances are kept in that heart pocket. I let them build trust and surety for the future which is largely unknown, much like a prophetic dream. If I worry or give away too much time in trying to make those scenes come to where I am now, they will become distorted, my day perverted as I leave my pathway for a road already traveled.
Where I am is now. This is where I am to be. I choose to not envy the past memories any more than I choose to envy people I know. Both choices deny today and wish for something else, something less. I turn my heart towards Home, the place where I belong, with King standing near to say “This is the path; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
Feeling His nod, seeing the extended hand, I take it with thanks, pull that quilt a little higher, and with praise, ask about today.
(c) Robin Lawrimore, December 2011