Just a thought: Do not be past or future, be present

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BREATHE! Breathe in and breathe out deeply. Be present! Do not be past. Do not be future. BE NOW!

Where are you living your life? Are you living in your past, your present, or your future? Has something happened in your past that you continue to struggle to overcome? Is there something coming up that you are overly worried or anxious about? Either of these can take energy from you living your life today.

Oftentimes our past or our future robs us of what we need to be accomplishing today.

Former child star and U.S. diplomat Shirley Temple Black learned this truth about living for today. When someone asked her the key to a successful marriage, she told a story about her husband, Charles, and his mother. When Charles was a boy, he approached his mother and asked her, “What was the happiest moment of your life?” His mother surprised him by answering, “This moment, right now.”

Charles blinked and then asked, “But what about all the other happy moments in your life? What about when you were married?” “What about the day I was born?” She laughed and said, “My happiest moment then was then. My happiest moment now is now. You can only really live in the moment you are in. So to me that is always the happiest moment.”

I am over six decades old and I continue to work on this. Maybe that is a good reason for me to get up each day. We should live the only day we have to live, and that is today. We can’t change a minute of the past. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Today may be it for any of us.

Sixteen years ago this month, on October 30, 2005, a young 33 year old pastor was in a church baptistry and ready to baptize a woman in front of his congregation. His name was Kyle Lake. He was the pastor of University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, the church where Christian musician David Crowder led praise music.

Pastor Lake had written out the sermon he was to deliver that morning after the baptism. While in the baptistry he reached for a microphone and was electrocuted in front of his wife, his three children, and his congregation of 800. He passed from this world a couple of hours later.

The sermon Pastor Lake was not able to deliver to his church that fateful day was shared by his widow at his funeral and, a dozen years later, his message lives on as words of wisdom that each of us should live by. Here is what he wrote but was never able to share that Sunday morning:

“Live. And Live Well. BREATHE. Breathe in and breathe deeply. BE PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. BE Now. On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.

“If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE. Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.

“If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.

“Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed. If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own.

“If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And grieve well. At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then you might as well laugh until you puke.

“And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship.

“Taste every ounce of life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-gift.”

Pastor Lake would always close his sermons with the words, “Love God, embrace beauty, and live life to the fullest.”

My challenge to you today is to recognize that life is fleeting. There are people in our community dying each day. None of us are guaranteed to be around in ten years, next year, or even tomorrow. Live today to its fullest.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Write in your heart that every day is the best day of the year.” Dale Carnegie said, “One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”

Today is the best day of your life. It is the only day you can live. Live and live well. Breathe in and breathe deeply. Be present. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now.

Just a thought...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.orgmailto:thekraftlawfirm@aol.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.

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