Sometimes the unknown is exciting. The adventure of “what’s around that corner?” is thrilling.
A few summers back, Isaac and I boarded a plane to Costa Rica. Other than our car rental, we had no reservations. No plans. Zero. And the anticipation of the unknown was so energizing. We flew by the seat of our pants and had the best time – we happened upon dreamy beaches, came across packs of monkeys (who stole our lunch), found amazing waves, and drove up and down most of the Pacific Coast of the country. It was better than we could have ever planned.
It’s easy to be perfectly adventurous and wonderfully daring for a time, especially with your true love in a tropical setting. But, in the daily grind, the unknown can feel more daunting than exhilarating.
The past few days, I have felt stuck in the worry of, “what happens next?” The anxiety has cast a shadow over my desire for adventure. Instead of “I cannot wait to see how life unfolds” I have a desperate grip on, “if I could just fast forward and see what happens, I would feel so much better.” I fool myself into thinking that I must know how it all turns out in order to enjoy this moment.
As if knowing what school district we will be in when my oldest enters kindergarten (in 3 years, people) will somehow change the way I feel today.
As if knowing whether or not we have another baby (at some point and no, I’m not pregnant) will change this moment.
As if knowing whether we will live in a house with a yard will change how I appreciate my home today. As if having a yard really matters at all. Hello!
But somehow these are things that I get caught up on. And there are more. Many more. Worries that I dare not share, lest I frighten the shit out of you. Because some of them are truly scary and messed up.
The trouble is, when we let ourselves go there, we get stuck in those worries. And we miss the present. The joy, fullness, excitement, gifts, learning, togetherness, freedom and wonder of this present moment are lost when we worry about the future.
This morning I found myself weighed down by the worries. Despite a morning of happy kids, dark coffee, a chipper husband, and shining sun, I was trapped. As my family and I got ready for church, I started to verbally unload on my unsuspecting husband. And by verbally unload, I mean bust some balls over the fact that I feel unsettled and insecure. (Unsettled and insecure mind you because I am choosing to fret, worry, be anxious, and dwell upon the details of the future.)
Of course, the balls that really needed busting were my own. This is standard though, isn’t it? We feel unsure, and somehow it’s someone else’s gosh darn fault.
My gracious husband didn’t reciprocate. Instead, we agreed that I would skip church and spend some time getting my thoughts back on track. So, I headed to the beach to run it out.
The music was so loud I couldn’t hear the worry. The ocean was so perfect I couldn’t see the worry.
I was clear. And I heard this:
Be here. Right now.
This is it. Right here. Right now. This is where I belong – mind, body and soul. All of me. I belong in this moment.
There will always be the future, the details, the unknown. Always. And forever they will be out of my control. The key is to stay in the present. To be mindful of my thoughts and worries. To focus on the gifts, joy, people, wonder, and freedom of the present.
May I see the gifts and blessings of this moment. May I choose freedom.
And to you, dear Worrier. May you choose the present. May you be free from the details and anxiety of the future. May you (mind, body, soul) be here, right now. And may you enjoy the gifts that come, moment by moment.