It was a little after 7 AM, the sun was still climbing over the horizon. Trying to force it’s way through an overcast sky. I stood on the platform of the Metro-North train station waiting to catch a ride to New York to visit a friend, who I have appropriately named the “Queen of New York” in my head. I followed the parallel track with my eyes off into the distance, and maybe it was the sunrise, or maybe it was Raleigh Ritchie’s “Stronger Than Ever” playing in my headphones, but I found myself thinking one single thought.
This is my life.
It wasn’t a thought that elicited some feeling of ownership, the way listening to Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” does. It wasn’t a now or never moment. And it didn’t carry the tone of a rebellious teenager fighting for freedom against the tyranny of parental supervision. It didn’t scream, “This is my life!” as it stomped it’s angry little feet into it’s room and slam the door. Instead, it rested its head a little differently in my mind. It was both calm and quiet. It was subtle and clear. It was a simple realization that this was indeed my life.
If I know anything, it’s that we get caught up living in the fantasies of the life we want. So much, that it starts to be difficult to live in reality without wishing we were anywhere else. We spend more time dreaming about perfect relationships. Amazing careers. And more time fabricating grandiose lives filled with foreign places and adventure than we ever do just being present where we are. We get so anxious to get to this dream life that we treat our days like stepping stones, trying to hop as fast as we can over them.
I’m not saying not to dream. I would never tell anyone not to believe for more. Being a dreamer myself, telling me not to is like asking me to stop breathing. But, as much as we dream we have to remember that we can’t build houses on clouds. We can’t create a life based on who we’ll be tomorrow. Or, the job we’ll have when we graduate. Those things come at an appropriate time.
I stood there that day and I was present in the reality that what was in front of me, and who I was, was all that I was going to get. That is what was immediate. And that was more than okay.
In that moment I saw that this… This moment. This day. This set of circumstances. This body. This mind. This heart. This… is what is real. This is what we have, and it’s all we need. When we put our life in perspective of God and realize all that Jesus did is when we begin to notice how much of this life is a gift. In fact, we see how all of this life is a gift. It’s easier to see how every good day, and even the bad ones, are all gifts. We can find the beauty in where we are now when we stop trying to create beauty in the places we’re not. The further we allow ourselves to get caught up in fantasies the more we put ourselves in danger. We put ourselves at risk of living in a dream, instead of living the dream. For those of us searching for truth there is nothing more honest than this moment now. There is nothing more real than where you stand this instant. Nothing clearer than the capabilities and talents you harness presently. This is now. This is real. See it. Feel it. Be present in it.