I have a confession to make: I am often preoccupied, anxious and fearful about the future. I sometimes spend more time consumed with worry about what might happen than I do paying attention to what is happening.
Planning and thinking about what lies ahead is not always a bad thing, except when it is. I cannot predict nor control the future, no matter how much I ponder and anticipate it. Furthermore, when I keep thinking about what is to come, I miss out on a lot of special moments happening now.
Father William Meninger reminded me of this today. In a guest sermon here in Pensacola, the Trappist monk from Colorado spoke of God’s glory revealed in the cosmos and in the world around us. There is so much to be in awe of. Father William tied this revelation to a single line in the play “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder.
The ghost of lead character Emily Gibbs née Webb, dead at the age of 26, revisits her mother’s kitchen on the day of her 12th birthday. Emily is struck by how little attention her mother pays to her as Mrs. Webb putters about making breakfast. Emily yearns for her mother to truly look at her and be in the moment with her.
Disheartened, Emily asks, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every, every minute?” Her guide, the Stage Manager, answers, “No — saints and poets, maybe. They do, some.”
“We are called to be saints,” Father William informed us from the pulpit. We are called to recognize the wonderful in the most seemingly mundane moments. Emily didn’t recognize the beauty of the life she’d been given until it was too late.
Let it not be the same for us. Let us revel in all that we have, all that we see, all that is freely given — here and now — for as long as we live.