Monday, September 3, 2012

The Glory of Now

My friend Theo looked thoughtful today as he and Bob tuned their guitars for a music session. "Why is it," he said. "Why is it that people are always looking for a reward -- the glory of heaven, the big cash out, public accolades -- instead of living, just living, fully now?"

                                Bob and Theo in a joyous music session                                                 

Bob, Theo and I talked about that for awhile -- how easy it is to get caught up in seeking rewards for the future when the best reward of all is a life fully and lovingly lived.

Sometimes the process of achieving a goal is sweeter than the goal itself.

The daily commitment to living according to one's values and doing the right thing moment by moment, day by day, is its own reward.

It feels good to be loving and generous with others. It feels good to greet others with a friendly "hello" whether or not that greeting is returned in kind. It feels good to listen and really hear another. It feels good to be kind -- not because you're looking for a reward in heaven or on earth -- but because it's the right thing to do, easing another's burden.

It feels good to consider, right now, all that brings us together instead of focusing on the ways we differ. "People get notions about people who are different from themselves," Theo, a former social worker in New York City, mused. "We cling to stereotypes and we make assumptions about each other when we are much more alike than different." Something to remember in these divisive political times.

It feels good to take time just to be.  So many times we focus more on what we do or what we have than who we are.  What discoveries one can make in meditation, in stopping and quieting the mind, reflecting on what makes us both unique and one with each other.

Especially on a holiday like this one,  it's wonderful to take time just to savor life and its blessings. When I was a child, my parents had a dear friend named Carl Mueller who had a great talent for savoring life as it was happening. As my parents ran around in a frenzy of work and worry, Carl would take my brother Mike and me out to the grassy front yard where we would lie down and watch the clouds, enjoying the sunlight and the ever-changing shapes in the day and the vastness of space and starlight at night. Such times were an oasis of calm, of joy, of mindfulness in our otherwise troubled childhoods.

And now my brother is passing such glorying in the moment along to his own children. Yesterday, he sent me a picture he labeled "Our Carl Mueller Moment" -- a picture of him and his two-month old son enjoying cloud-watching on a late summer afternoon.

                                        Mike and Henry enjoying the moment

Bob, Theo and I agreed that we're far from ruling out the possibility of an afterlife, a heaven. But we want to enjoy the glory of some heavenly moments now, all those small moments of peace and kindness and goodness that bless every one of our days.  


  1. Those who enjoy the little moments are indeed in heaven.

  2. My goal every day is to squeeze every drop of life out of every moment. It's the best gift we can give ourselves.

    Little Henry is flat out adorable. The look of love between them is glorious!

  3. I enjoyed reading your your post this evening. There is food for thought in what you said. I love that picture of Mike and henry. I used to lay on a blanket on the grass and look at the clouds and see all kinds of animal shapes in my youth. How fun it would be to still do that.

    Happy Labor Day weekend. JB

  4. I couldn't agree more.

    And what a wonderful picture :) Henry has very knowing eyes for such a young baby.

  5. Those moments are what makes life worth while. So important to cherish them!

  6. Dear Kathy, thank you for this clarion reminder--complete with two photographs that quietly make the point--that living in the moment and being present to it brings contentment pressed down and overflowing. Peace.

  7. You are so right, of course. (You already knew that)
    It's the peaceful and quiet moments which bring the greatest joy.

    Besides, I believe in belt and braces; you might as well make the most of what you have now just in case there is no heavenly afterlife.

  8. It sure does feel good and costs you nothing.
    But the rewards your soul gets is worth everything

  9. So true. One shouldn't look to being rewarded for doing the right thing.
    When we are taught to relent and let God handle our problems, this is exactly what it means. Stop worrying and do the right thing. If every one did the right thing, life would be great. Trouble is, law is not about doing the right thing.The law protects business and evil.Look at what is being done to abortion issues and marriage?
    The more you do the right thing, the more people step all over you and eventually you have to fight back and then you worry, become tense.etc...
    That's why today I've become a boring preacher trying to pull in the reins and say hey!
    What about words like honor, respect, dignity,ethics, morals and values. And in return I hear words like Zealot.
    I think this is a horrible word especially when it pertains to every one, including the person who utters it.
    In order to have an opinion, one must have a belief and to have a strong belief becomes a new religion, which then makes you also a zealot. So... what's the point of all this?

  10. To live in the now is a precious thing...


  11. As usual your blog is so right on! We each only get one life and to not live it to the fullest is such a waste. Love the photo of Mike and baby Henry-just joy there.

  12. Kathy, this connects so closely with a comment I just made on another blog. I think part of this wisdom comes with living a long life -- maybe an always-good life, but more likely one that has had its ups and downs, its joys and sorrows. If one can manage to make it through without being bitter or angry, it's amazing how much joy there is to be had in the every day, and as we edge along the continuum of the lifeline we see it more and care less about those who don't live in that moment and see all there is to see. How beautifully stated!