4 November 2019 - Sacramento, California
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
I have less than two weeks left in my walk across the United States! In the past two weeks, when I have met people and told them what I am doing, a number of them have exclaimed, “You are almost there!” Julia and I have both commented recently that the finishing of the walk feels challenging. We are both emotionally tired and logistically tired. I am ready to be back home; I’m ready to be with my wife again on a daily basis. Today is the 8-month anniversary of when I began the walk. Charleston, South Carolina and Folly Beach seem like a very long time ago!
Julia was just reminding me that the 9th month of her pregnancies with Zach and Hannah were difficult. She felt uncomfortable and she was ready for those babies to be born! (Some of you know that Zach was in no hurry to be born and that we barely got to the hospital before Hannah arrived.) I enter the 9th month of my walk today. Something new has been born in me over the past 8 months, that’s for sure.
There is this temptation for me (and I think for all of us) to look back at the past and to anticipate the future. “Oh man, I wish I would have done this (or not done that) yesterday. I wish I would have said _________ at that talk last Sunday.” Or… “Man, I can’t wait to be walking over the Golden Gate Bridge and then arriving at Baker Beach and walking into the Pacific Ocean.”
The problem with this backwards or forwards living, of course, is that I can miss the opportunities and the learning and the joys of today. Living in the moment… living in the present… living in “the now”… this is something that all the great teachers, spanning all the different faiths and spanning many centuries, write or talk about. How can I be present with God right now? How can I be present with the person I am with - right now? How can I be present with this road upon which I am walking or the red-tailed hawk calling overhead or the food that I am eating - right now? And even if the present moment is challenging… as one my mentors, Julie Colwell asks, “How can I be present with what is happening, and not resist it?”
The Psalmist - who wrote as many as 1,000 years before Christ - understood this, too.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) This is the day. Today. Let us rejoice and be glad in today, Monday, the 4th of November, 2019. (Or whatever day it is when you read this.)
We could look back and analyze what could have gone better on the weekend that just passed. We can say, “Oh, it’s Monday! I can’t wait for next weekend!” Or, we can do our best to show up to today.
I am not walking today. I have a second day off in a row in Sacramento, mostly because I walked a lot last week and I got ahead of schedule. Ahead of schedule - whatever that means! It’s a little weird for me. It’s Monday - I should be walking! But instead I am having an open-ended quiet time, an un-rushed phone call with my wife, and there is space to determine where I might walk in Verna and Jeeg Wilder’s neighborhood later today. There is time to read something new. There is a greater spaciousness to talk to and listen to people and to notice things, to write down my thoughts and feelings and what I am learning in my journal, and to write this blog.
I will be in San Francisco soon enough, by God’s grace and protection. I will be walking over that Golden Gate Bridge soon enough. I will be reunited with family and friends soon enough. I will be back home in Arvada soon enough. And make no mistake; I look forward to all of that!
But God is reminding me not to miss this day - a day of God’s own creation, a day unlike any other day that has ever been or ever shall be.
How will you rejoice and be glad in THIS day?