Another Benefit of the Coronavirus Quarantine
My friend discovered during the Coronavirus Quarantine that he spent most of his time focused on the current moment. He savored the precious present experience, “as is”. He realized how much time he had previously wasted regretting the past and worrying about the future. Many people live with past remorse or fears of the future.
While the value of the present moment seems self-evident, some prefer to be mired in the acclaim of past achievement. My friend knew a man who would introduce himself with a job title from a previous decade. His 3 jobs since, were of lesser stature. He couldn’t accept the reality of his current position. So, he continued to bask in the glory of times long past gone. This was sad at best, unhealthy, at worst.
He never understood that fame is fleeting. In ancient times, the conquering hero would be paraded through the streets of Rome in a single chariot. This allowed the hero to be the sole beneficiary of all the adulation. Except, his servant would stand behind him, whispering in his ear, “Sic Transit Gloria” – “Fame is fleeting”. Or as Evita sung, “Fortune & Fame are not the solutions they promised to be. They are illusions.”
Others prefer to pick the scabs of old wounds. There is some sinister delight in not letting a spouse off the hook. Rather than enjoy any moments of current happiness, some would rather skewer spouses with the pain of past mistakes. It’s awful to be moored in misery. The seething cauldron of offenses, real or imaginary, are stirred constantly, until they spill over scathing both, the offender & offended.
There’s no escape until they discover forgiveness. “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the boot that crushed it.” It’s the unconditional Love of the Redemptive Cross, which Christ expressed to His false accusers & brutal executioners, “Father for give them, for they know not what they do”. Only then, can the past be abandoned, and the present, enjoyed.
The beauty of the present moment is that it is constantly changing. There is always something different to enjoy. Each majestic sunrise & sunset differs from day to day. The “Swings of Pleaides” or the “Reddening of a Rose” appear differently each day. The changing Seasons provide series of differing delights: from the blossoming of Springtime flowers, to the verdant pastures & bubbling brooks of summer, to the awesome colors of Autumn, to the breath-taking beauty of a winter’s snowfall embracing bare tree limbs and blanketing barren fields.
When the challenges of daily life can be viewed as “Temporary Inconveniences”, the disappointment of failed expectations can be accepted “As Is”, and real or imagined fears can be endured, then, the slightest joy from a smile or a hug can be treasured, and the present moment becomes a blessed event, to be enjoyed and savored.
It is not by accident that God described Himself as, “I Am Who Am” -an affirmation of only being in the present. Clearly, by definition, God is timeless, always was and always will be. Yet, He describes Himself as only existing in the present moment. Which, upon reflection, is all that we have. Yesterday no longer exists. Tomorrow is promised to no one. So, “Carpe Diem” – “Seize the Day”. Don’t regret the past or fear the future. Just enjoy the present, “As Is”.