It’s January. I walk in the park. It seems the trees were sleeping. Their bare arms are frozen. They are shrouded in ivy, cocooned in sleep, waiting for warmer times. I imagine the blossoms of spring: the surfacing crocuses of purple and yellow, the white snowdrops, the trumpeting daffodils. I imagine life re-emerging, like a blasting firework, all will come to life again.
But, I look closer. The shoots are already showing. The new growth buds are emerging. The early catkins are gently waving at me. Nothing in fact is dead. Nothing has stopped. It is still growing, cell by cell, line upon line, precept upon precept. As inevitable as day follow night, these living things grow. They don’t stop. They may rest. They may grow in a different and new way. Growth is not something one day they will do. They are growing now, all the time.
As we turn the year I hear resolutions trip of the tongues of those around me. Plans for change, courses of action for self improvement. Lists, plans, goals. All noble and admirable. Some may be a success. Afterall, if we do not aim for something, we’ll hit anything. If we read more, serve more, study more, we can be happier, pull God closer to us. Then how pleased he will be with us and how pleased we will be with ourselves. We wish so hard on a future star, desperately dragging the future toward us, wishing like Dorothy with all of our might me ‘ I wish I was home, I wish I was there’.
But I have found I am not there, I am here. Wishing to be there makes the here a sad and unfulfilled place. I cannot summon the future to today, no matter how amazing by goals may be. I can only live in this day. This day is after all the only place I can be. Today …I will hear His voice. For me this means that today I will notice. The trees had not stopped growing. They are growing now. I am growing now, today. I was so busy thinking about a future spring, I did not see the growth and wonder of today.
Sometimes we don’t see for looking. That’s when we need to stop straining to see into the future and just look about us now. For me it is a simple inner relax of my outward gaze; I relax and still my mind, refocus what I am looking for. I stop rushing along in ‘in a minute’ time and focus on this second. Then something happens. Something so simple and wonderful, and miraculous and ordinary. I look around me and start to see what really is there. Like seeing the new growth on winter trees, right in front of my eyes. I see Him. He is right there, all the time: at my elbow as I write, next to me as I sip coffee, kneeling with me as I put on my shoes, walking with me through winter parks. Today is a significant day, now is a precious moment.