Live in the blessings of 'now'

Anamaria Scaperlanda Biddick

Near the end of every semester in college, I was ready for the next: my new classes
promised to be more interesting than the current ones, my schedule would allow more
time for workouts, and my new work-study job would allow more time for studying.

 I thought of those last few weeks each semester as something I needed to
“get through” before my life would get better. The circumstances of the next semester always promised
to better encourage personal virtue and happiness. 

To some extent, this was true: external circumstances can encourage or discourage
virtuous actions; my schedule can help or hinder time for prayer, getting enough sleep,
and eating healthy food. 

At some point, however, I realized: this is it. This is my life, with constantly changing
circumstances that will never be ideal. The platitudes and trite saying were correct:
“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the
present.”

The present is what we have. It is here, in the present, that God reveals himself to us and
we can come to know him, through circumstances joyous, difficult or banal. It is only in
the present moment that we have the opportunity to practice and develop virtues such as
self-control and patience. But, we only can do these things if we are attentive to where we
are, instead of allowing ourselves to be distracted by the past, the future or a mindless
diversion. 

Despite coming to this realization years ago, it is a constant work to find a way to prepare
for the future without spending every moment waiting for the next thing: to get a new
job, for the new job to start, to meet someone, to get married, to get pregnant, for the
baby to be born, for the baby to go to sleep, for dinner time, for vacation and on and on.

Though having an eye toward to the future is necessary, I strive to do so while embracing
the present.

During my engagement, a friend told me, “Enjoy this sweet, special time. Savor it.” What
difficult advice to follow in a time that is uniquely directed toward anticipating the
future!

We had to prepare, both for the wedding and the marriage, by sending invitations,
buying wedding clothes, ordering flowers and cake, finding a place to live and discussing
other necessary aspects of merging our lives together in beginning a family.

But, paradoxically, we best prepare for the future when we live in the present, while
aware of the future.