Last August I wrote a post called "Dead Space." It was about how the gap between my weeks on camp teams and the beginning of the fall semester seemed like a barren desert in which I loafed purposelessly for two weeks. And now, an approximate year later, I find myself in a similar situation. It definitely doesn't help that school is starting a week later this year, giving me one more week of staying up till 2 a.m. watching episodes of House on my computer. (By the way, my trip to California was a ton of fun, and it would have been nice if I could have somehow stayed there for a couple more weeks playing Wii and hanging out with movie stars.) Needless to say, and as I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm very excited to get back to Joplin on Saturday. I don't do so well sitting around by myself all day. I need other people to keep me sharp, I think. It feels like my mind is trudging through mud lately, and consequently, the remainder of this post will be pretty uninteresting, I'm sure.
For my internship this summer, I had to read Purpose Driven Youth Ministry by Doug Fields. I've had the idea for this post tucked in the back of my mind for a while, and I thought for sure that I thought of it because of a section of that book. But I just spent 15 minutes trying to track down that passage with no luck. So here's what I will say about Purpose Driven Youth Ministry: It uses an absurd of acronyms that are supposed to help the reader remember the main points (H.I.T.; H.A.B.I.T.S.; S.A.G. 5; S.H.A.P.E.; R.E.L.A.T.I.O.N.S.H.I.P.S.; M.I.N.I.S.T.R.Y.). Obviously, these ridiculous acronyms didn't help me remember anything, nor would they have helped you.
In spite of all these random letters, there was one idea that got me thinking in the book. Or at least I think I was in the book, but since I can't find it, maybe it was actually birthed from my own mind somehow. So now I will finally begin to get to my point. Far too often, we do a poor job living in relation to our current situation. In a sense, we need to live in the moment. I don' t mean living in the moment in the sense that we all go get trashed every night and blow our money on endless luxuries and making out with as many girls as possible. I try to not endorse being an idiot. But what I mean is that, because of our schedules or worries or wishes or whatever, we don't do a very good job dealing with what's laid before us.
Each of us are thrown into numerous situations every day. We're faced with decisions, we engage in conversations, we're confronted with problems, and we perceive needs. It's important that we learn to deal with life according to the moment, according to what it's giving us at any second. But instead, we're often too focused on how things were or how they should be or how we wish they were, and we miss what's right in front of us. We need to be present. We need to slow down our super-charged minds and take life one minute at a time. We need to be attentive to those with whom we're talking. We need drink in all of the enjoyment we can in good times, and we need to ask what we can learn in bad times.
We can't do anything about whatever present situation we're in. For example, if my hand is on a hot stove, I can't change the fact that my hand is on that stove at the moment. It's already done. I can only do something about whether or not my hand is on that stove a split second later, namely by jerking it back. It does me no good to think, "Man, this hurts. I really wish my hand wasn't on this stove right now." Then my mind is disconnected from the present, and I just end up with a charred appendage and a hampered NBA career. So the point is this: Be present. Live in the moment. When you're in some situation you don't like, deal with it. When you're talking with somebody, pay attention to what they're saying. When you're at IHOP at midnight with your pals, laugh hard and eat a lot of pancakes. And when you're at Ozark and see a skinny kid with glasses walking around looking hungry, buy him some Chick-fil-A. It's all about the moment.