Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Time Travel

Why do I find it so difficult to live in the present?

Maybe I'm just not busy enough, or maybe I'm not disciplined enough to remain in the here-and-now. For some reason I forever find myself either rewinding the tape to relive, examine, and critique scenes from my past, or else I am fast-forwarding it to pre-play future events, trying out different possible scenarios.

For instance, I picture myself staying here in Mexico, growing old together with Methuselah*, and having grandchildren take turns coming to visit during the summer. I'll show them all the places their parents used to play, and read our favorite stories to them. (At this point in my pondering, if I'm ever careless enough to wonder aloud, Jim, I mean Methuselah, will jump in with some ridiculous comment like, "What will you serve for lunch that day?" or "What outfit will you be wearing?") Argh.

An alternate ending I dream up (usually after he bursts my bubble with some stupid remark) is of me as a widow living out the remainder of my old age in some unknown location. This particular ending gets less frightening the more I preview it. There is no terror in facing the uncertainty of the future because whenever I fast-forward the tape, in spite of all the blank scenes and potential tragedies, the one constant feature is that Jesus is always by my side. I take great comfort in that.

I used to joke about writing my entire life story in advance and then complaining about my kids' refusal to follow the script! (They were all going to be the perfect kids, and I, of course, the perfect mom....) Actually it's twice as fun my way, because I can dream and imagine one ending, and then enjoy the real story as it unfolds. God's story is always better than my imaginary one. Imperfect kids and mothers are more colorful and genuine than perfect ones.

How about you? Have you ever done mental gymnastics like burning your house down and then imagining which things you would miss if you lost them forever? Have you ever peeked into the future, not liked what you saw, and then made some changes to avoid turning into that person, or to avoid facing that preventable problem? Or just flitted to the past or future simply to find joy that eludes you in the present?

Then again maybe the rest of you are too busy to play these zany games. In your defense, living one day at a time is actually scriptural. And look hard enough, you’ll find plenty of joy and even hilarity right in front of you. No time travel required. Maybe I’ll try living in the present tense for a while, and stop dreaming about driver’s licenses I don’t have yet.

What a novel idea.

IRL*fast-forward or rewind, I'm still pushing "play."

*please refer to sidebar dictionary [Jamie Jo-speak] for the definition of starred item.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my word!!!! I almost woke up my entire family laughing at that picture as it popped up on the screen! What a fiesty looking lady you are. :)

    Yes, I daydream. I used to do it a whoooole lot more than got really convicted that I was missing out on life that was actually happening while I was watching the mental show - plus it bread huge amounts of discontentment for me - because I'm so. far. away. from my view of 'perfect'.

    Sigh - still working on living in the present!


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