Living in the Present!

I think as we age, we find peace and comfort in each moment spent with those we love. Of course part of aging is to revisit the past but I find as each year comes and goes that it is easier to live each day as it comes.

I have been a practicing Christian all of my life. Though my experience and my journey are similar to many others, there have been several differences. Keeping that in mind, I will share some of these important differences!

I was born to a Catholic mother and Protestant father and was raised in my father’s faith. Yet, during those years, I frequently went to church with my Catholic Grampa, often feeling like a bush amongst the trees in the forest as I sat there while the congregation kne!t.  When I married my husband, John, I became a Lutheran, following my father’s intuitive advice which he shared with me one cold Sunday morning.

“Mary, there are enough problems in a marriage without making religion one of them. It is important to worship together as a couple.”  So the decision to join my husband’s religion was a good one. My mom complimented me on my choice, although echoing her sense of loss with that decision made many years before. She loved being a Catholic!

When I married my second husband, Jack, he was a devout believer in the Catholic faith. After a year of study and a conscious decision to join his church, I became Catholic. I even took my mom’s name, Bernadette, as my Confirmation name. I felt like she and I had completed her “religion cycle” full circle, and I felt honored!

While visiting my friend’s daughter in California many years ago, we spent time in one of the small bookshops in her vicinity. Curious about the religions practiced in this progressive state, I purchased a book called PEACE, by the Dali Lama. He had written it early in his life and shared his view of the world, his beliefs — that were different from conventional religion — and the value of such thinking.

He emphasized over and over that to live in the moment was not only the right thing to do but it was the only way to live. The past is just that with many things that cannot be changed and the future is completely unknown with few promises. Therefore . . . to live in the present was his only choice.

He continued to emphasize the peace brought about by that mindset and by living in the present, we were guaranteed no worries because the present is real, the other two places, past and future are not. That really got me to thinking!

A recent conversation with my son brought this wisdom home to me. He too had stumbled upon the Dali’s book and shared what I had forgotten. Peace in our world is almost impossible to fathom as a whole but living peacefully in our little lives is possible. I chuckle at this observation because my child has often taught me things. We live in somewhat of a reversal of roles in our adult lives.

I invite you to think about these issues. The most important gift to us from God is time. Not on a clock, not on a watch, not on a screen . . . but time in the present moment. That is the only guarantee we have next to the love our Lord shows to us.

I believe that living in the moment can change our futures and remembering our mistakes in the past also will shape our lives. But cherishing the “now” time is the best way to go!

Think about it, adopt it, and I promise you PEACE.

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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