We strolled through an ancient graveyard in Saltzburg, Austria as I suddenly spotted an old weathered headstone dated 830. I looked again in astonishment to be sure that I saw it correctly in the fading light.
The sun dropped low in the sky behind clouds that had just rained giving the area a melancholy feel. The wet grass, blooming flowers, and crumbling graves surrounding an ancient stone church in the middle of the bustling metropolis felt surreal.
I wondered about this man whose name was partially eroded by centuries of weather.
Who was he? What did he do for a living? Was he married? Have children? Grandchildren?
He once, as a little boy, played with his friends. Perhaps enjoyed his children. Maybe lived successfully.
Then he passed on in time and no one remembers.
I thought about how I’ve raced to be successful, which is good up to a point.
But too often I’ve missed just enjoying the serendipitous moments that appear unannounced and disappear just as quickly.
I decided I don’t want to miss anymore. I want to live present in the moments of each day.
As a result I’ve found myself surprised as I enjoy the unexpected.
Right now as I’m writing in our sunroom, Socks our kitten is rubbing my legs. I reach down to stroke her with tuffs of blond fur floating off. My wool slacks look like mohair.
I’ll brush them but now I’m enjoying the moment.
I’m finding joy in each day not always needing to look forward to the weekend. I’m learning to relax, pause and enjoy what today brings.
I’m writing which I enjoy. I’ll have the opportunity to help others in my business. I’m having lunch with friends later.
I’m enjoying the unusually cool summer morning.
These blessings will never come quite this way again so I’m learning to be present in them now.
I’m also enjoying the accomplishments of today. Sure continuing to work to accomplish further goals is great. But sometimes chasing gets in the way of enjoying.
So I’m learning to enjoy where we’ve come while working towards where we want to go.
I love what Jeremiah says, “God’s blessings never fail. They are new every morning. It’s so good to wait quietly for him.”
God made today special just for you. Every morning is an opportunity to enjoy a new day that God designed perfectly.
So I’m learning to be present throughout each day.
Focus on the blessings of today not always focusing on what I want tomorrow.
I’m learning to be more present with the people in my life.
Taking a walk with my wife in the early evening to exercise outside and catch up on our day.
On Sunday, a friend called and wanted me to look at a collector car he acquired. So I stopped a few chores around our house and drove over to his.
I’ve known him since college, so we talked about his car and mutual friends as we drank a beer.
Amazingly the chores were still waiting for me when I returned just like I’d never left. Go figure.
I’m also trying to be more aware of the journey and what I’m learning.
That’s part of why I write and part of the shift in my writing style.
I want to think more deeply about life. What makes the real differences?
Then write to clarify it for myself and pass it on to hopefully help others.
I’ve found through all of this a surprising change in how I’m experiencing life.
I hope it helps you find that surprise as well.
*Lamentations 3: 22, 23, 26