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Learning to Enjoy Present Blessings

Enjoy the present - Bryon LippincottMy amazing hubby’s photo of Banff 2011

Ever since college when I first learned of this song I have had it running through my head.  I play it on guitar, on the piano, and somehow it just stays as one of the songs I fall back on.

It isn’t that I can relate to the lyrics.  Most of the time I can’t.  It is because I want to.

I have always been driven, as long as I can remember.  Living and enjoying the present is something I have always struggled to do.  It is, however, something I believe in and strive for.

It is by Carolyn Arends and here are the lyrics:

I know a girl who was schooled in Manhattan
She reads dusty books and learns phrases in Latin
She is an author, or maybe a poet
A genius but it’s just this world doesn’t know it
She works on her novel most every day
If you laugh she will say

chorus:
Seize the day, seize whatever you can
‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day, pray for grace from God’s hand
Then nothing will stand in your way
Seize the day

Well I know a doctor, a fine young physician
Left his six-figure job for a mission position
He’s healing the sick in an African clinic
He works in the dirt and writes home to the cynics
He says “We work through the night so most every day
As we watch the sun rise we can say

chorus

Well I know a man who’s been doing some thinking
He’s as bitter and cold as the whiskey he’s drinking
He’s talking ’bout fear, about chances not taken
If you listen to him you can hear his heart breaking
He says “One day you’re a boy and the next day you’re dead
I wish way back when someone had said

chorus

Well one thing I’ve noticed, wherever I wander
Everyone’s got a dream he can follow or squander
You can do what you will with the days you are given
I’m trying to spend mine on the business of living
So I’m singing my songs off of any old stage
You can laugh if you want, I’ll still say

chorus  (source)

When we talked about taking our first road trip 3 years ago it was to extend a trip we were already making for a wedding (the pretty amazing wedding of two even more amazing people).  We went back and forth, dreamed, but never really made any plans.  We both love the idea of road trips, the kids would love it, but we had never really done or spent much on the present.

It’s not usually something that is praised.  Growing up it seems like there is one direction to go and the idea is to get there as soon as possible.  Put your eye on the prize and move toward it.  It is a life of running and it has always fit with my personality like a glove.  I just don’t always want to be running.  I don’t know that I will make it to the goal (a big retirement account, fancy career success, and an adoring extended family), because every breath of life is a gift.  Also, I wanted to enjoy and celebrate the time that my kids were young and not live to travel later (when we probably won’t be able to physically do the same things we want to do now, like hiking the Grand Canyon)

It was good practice.  We are now on our third road trip, spending time and money enjoying the present.  Something about the open road, new places, new experiences makes it easier to focus on spending time enjoying the present together.

What do you do to remind yourself to enjoy the present? (if you are reading RSS join us in the comments)

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6 Comments

  1. You made me think of how when we go on road trips, I always want to stop and see something or take a side trip. But, my husband always says ‘no’. He is focused on the final destination. But, this does remind me in every day living to appreciate and find the little things to be grateful for along life’s journey.

    • haha, I understand. It has taken some re-training on both are parts to take side trips and be okay with it 🙂

  2. Lorilee,
    Your writing is as lyrical and musical as the lyrics to the song you quoted. I, too, struggle with planning for the future at the same time I am working to be in the moment. But life is about being grateful for the moments of happiness that we experience with those we love. Thank you for the reminder.

    • you are totally welcome! thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. Hi! I’m a new subscriber of yours and I’ve never posted before, but the queston begged to be answered so…. There is a children’s book about Fredrick the Mouse that stores up the warmth of the sun and colors of the seasons etc. while the other mice store up grain for winter. He is ridiculed by the others for not helping them prepare, but when their provisions run out before winter is over it is his words about the warmth of the sun and the colors of nature through the seasons that help the other mice to survive the cold winter with hope. Since my husband and I teach preschool together in a four season climate and dream of the day we will retire to be snow birds, we have read this story many times. Now when either one of us needs reminding to slow down and really enjoy the moment we refer to the other one as Fredrick as in, “Are you storing up those beautiful colors of the leaves/ripples on the water/warmth of the sun, Fredrick?” It is a healthy appreciation of the present and a reminder not to rush to the future cold winter that helps us enjoy the good life that God gave us.

    • Thanks so much for sharing! I haven’t heard of that book but it does fit perfectly. Good to meet you 🙂

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