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Caught up in the planning

Fresh off the heels of Halloween, with Veterans Day around the corner, Thanksgiving will follow and then suddenly it will be a few weeks from Christmas. This time of the year seems to fly by so quickly as we bounce from one moment to the next and one event to the next. A few weeks ago I went out of town for a day to visit a friend of mine. Hours in the car by myself —surprisingly without traffic — somehow gave me time to reflect on the past, the present and the future. During this time of reflection, which we often encourage from the pulpit, I managed to miss out on a few restaurants and sites along the way.

I wonder sometimes if as we travel from event to event; festivity to festivity; if we don’t get so caught up in the planning, the hindsight, the forecasting that we actually miss the moment.

The past is behind us, the future is before us, but the present is the moment we are in. How many of us are missing those moments because we are reflecting and forecasting instead of stopping and actually tasting the food we are eating? Experiencing the moment we have with another person? Maybe just recognizing what we have never seen before simply because we slowed down enough to enjoy it.

David hit a point in his life when this recognition came about. A point where he realized he needed to settle down and humbly still himself before God. Psalm 131 verses 1-2 read as follows: “My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”

What imagery. I picture a small infant, full-bellied and laying peacefully without a care in the world. Like David, and like a happily resting and full infant child, that is how we could be if we just slowed down enough to allow ourselves to be content.

Maybe as we move into this busiest of seasons, this two-three month whirlwind of events, we should just stop and be satisfied every so often. Maybe become less concerned with the great matters — all of those troubles, bills and situations or whatever it may be for each individual, and that we have no control over. Maybe become a little less concerned with figuring out the mysteries of life, where we are going, where we will be in five or ten years — or even in a week. Maybe we should become more attentive to what is right in front of us. Quiet ourselves and calm ourselves as we take those moments and simply be content in what God is doing with us right here and right now.

Barry Vassar is the pastor of Fitzgerald Memorial and can be reached at fitzgeraldmemorial@gmail.com.