I cannot believe another year is coming to a close! In a few days we will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then in a week we will start 2016!
As I reflect on the past year, one thing stands out to me.
I am trying to learn this skill. It takes some of us more practice than others.
As a society we are all so caught up in our schedules, phones and devices that we tend to only be “half-present” when we are in the actual company of other human beings – thinking about what we have to do next, or what is happening on social media. Studies even show that having a phone, even when it is off, sitting on the table when you are dining with others or having a meeting makes the other person(s) feel as if you are not fully present with them.
I have a friend in stage 4 breast cancer. 3 1/2 years ago they gave her 6 months, and she is still with us even though the cancer has spread to her bones and now into her liver. She continues to defy everything the medical community has said to her. She still jogs, swims, leads a Bible Study group, does her hobbies, and remains positive. She continues to try new treatments to hold the cancer back as long as possible. She is an enigma to her doctors.
I have visited with her a couple times this year. And here is what I have learned from her about being present and making each moment “count.” I believe this is why she is still thriving despite the cancer cells present throughout her body. She wakes up every morning appreciating the fact that she has been given another day to make a difference in someone’s life. Somehow, without being morbid, she impresses on each person she comes in contact with that we are not promised tomorrow. None of us are. We are in fact here on this earth for a purpose, and only God knows the number of our days, hours, seconds. Our job is simply to live in the moment we are given. To share our faith, joy and love with everyone we meet. To be grateful for each and every second given us. She uplifts every person she meets by being 100% “present” in that moment – her focus is entirely on that person and their interaction.
Apparently many people with terminal illnesses say that they have actually enjoyed life much more than they did prior to being diagnosed. This is a story I’ve heard many times, both from people who have been diagnosed early and are beating cancer, and from people like my dear friend who one day had a pain in her shoulder, and the next learned that she was already in stage 4. She tells me often that cancer is not the enemy, Satan himself is the enemy. She challenges me to remember this as difficulties come up in my life. He wants us to be distracted by ill health, gossip, disappointment – but these things are not our enemy, for we do not fight against flesh and blood.
So, it is up to each of us to gain a new perspective on life. Will we be those who are constantly feeling defeated by life and its trials? Will we be those so caught up in what’s happening next or the notifications on our devices?
Or will we be those, like my friend who continues to defy all human logic knowing God can heal her completely if He chooses to do so, and live a life of gratitude and triumph in every moment we have? Will we be those who fully engage with the people in our presence?
So, as you enjoy Christmas, the last week of 2015, and bounce your way into the New Year – remember to be present. Savor each moment with your loved ones. Make sure each of them feels that you are 100% “there” with them. This means more than all the presents, goodies and smiley photo posts you can make. For we truly do not know what day will be our last. All we have is now.
Rejoice and be glad IN THIS MOMENT and treasure it! Celebrate this life God has given you, and Jesus who died to give you eternal life as well. Share life, joy and love with all you meet!
Here’s to 2016!