Sister S. and I went walking in Guatemala City’s embassy district this morning, where the flowers blossom year round and we can listen to birds calling in the trees. They don’t call this the Land of Eternal Spring for nothing.
We agreed that next January, when we are back in the cold north country, we will probably look back fondly on these walks.
So rarely do we recognize today’s blessings as we occupy our minds with what is to come—what we expect, what we fear, what we long for. So rarely, it seems, do we live fully in the moment. (But perhaps I should speak only for myself.)
A French philosopher—typically, his name escapes me—once said that we rarely look at our wristwatches and clocks to find out what time it actually is. More often, we want to know “how long until”—how long until lunch, until the meeting, until I can go home to my spouse and family, etc. We are not so much concerned with this moment as we are with what we expect to happen in some dreaded or longed-for future moment.
The Savior, I think, was the master of living in the moment, the example of taking advantage of the blessings and opportunities that are before us right now. Jesus performed many mighty miracles—calming the sea, for example, and walking on the water (Matthew 8:23-27, 14:25-42). But He was the Master of the moment also in quiet, intimate actions—as He taught the Samaritan woman (John 4:55-26), as He bade the little children come to Him (Luke 18:15-17).
It may not be given to many of us to do miracles, but we, too, can be masters of our small moment when we take advantage of the opportunities before us and the blessings around us each day.
It takes wisdom and awareness to focus on the blessings and opportunities at hand. Sometimes it takes wisdom and awareness beyond what I possess.
It is a blessing to be able to walk among blooming flowers and calling birds here on a January day when there is severe winter weather in the area we call home. Because I look forward to going home, it took me a while to see that.
It is a blessing to be able to bring good into other lives. But it takes awareness to realize that this person standing in front of you is a child of God with hopes and dreams and challenges, and that you possess what is needed to help him or her with some of the challenges. Sister S. is better at perceiving this than I. She is especially good at knowing how to help children. It comes intuitively to her. Perhaps that results from living more fully according to the Savior’s example.
It is a blessing sometimes to face challenges—a truth I acknowledge only grudgingly. And yet the growth that comes from these challenges is undeniable.
I have not yet arrived at the point where I can embrace the challenges in the same way I enjoy the flowers along our way on the morning walks. But perhaps someday that will come too.