The present. The only life we actually possess. Regardless of spiritual persuasion the life that counts is right now.
I have become a person reluctant to speak in absolutes. There is just so much more to what I don’t know than what I do. So both humility and reality encourage care in the the choice of words, and absolute words easily stray beyond that care into recklessness. But I speak absolutely today about living the life we have been given in each moment we are given it.
Everyone has a worldview, and everyone’s worldview contains an element of faith. By that, I mean only that we interpret our experiences and knowledge and are forced to say “I believe” about a great many things. There are things we can’t “know” in the same sense we know things by experiencing them. Even history is an exercise in faith–I believe a person called “George Washington” existed though I have never met him and cannot absolutely prove the evidence for him isn’t an elaborate hoax (wouldn’t THAT be a hoot!).
Even so, amidst this uncertainty, I remain convinced the life we have right now is what matters most. Not the life we have had–gone into glory or gloom and never to be recouped. Nor the the glory or gloom we might have at some uncertain point in this life or the next. But the life we have right now. Today. This hour. This moment.
Every person who reads this will have a history–some good stuff and some bad. If much of that history is negative, will it then become our present and then become our destiny? Will we be ruled by the hurts of history? So much of the world is in slavery to what has been. How needless this is. How much suffering it causes.
Every person who reads this will believe something about a life beyond this place. Some will believe it exists, some will believe it doesn’t. Some will be unsure which way the evidence points. What all these perspectives have in common is right now. Right now matters if you don’t believe in something beyond this place because this is literally the only life you will ever have. This is your golden ticket. Mark the cosmos constructively now with your presence–with your passion and compassion–because there are no “do overs”. As Andy DuFrame said in The Shawshank Redemption, get busy living or get busy dying.
Maybe you do believe there is something beyond this place–if so I am with you–I envision a life beyond. But it pains me greatly when I see so many who believe in something beyond just treading water here. Waiting for a glory to come without thought to the fact that right now is the starting point to everything that will be. Transcendent glory must be tasted now to be devoured later. If there is a next life, surely the trajectory of this life will determine the destination in that one. So, are we busy living or busy dying? Loving or fearing? Trudging or triumphing?
Or maybe you haven’t a decided position. Is death a wall or hall? What does it matter? The moment still stands. Now. The life you have. We humans are so different in outlook and understanding, but this great truth binds us all–life comes to each exactly the same way. Some of us seize the day we have and become fully alive. Some of us don’t, or won’t. And that will make all the difference.