Life is a Gift

I thought about titling this piece “Living the Moment” as it sort of captures the essence of where I wanted to go with it, but I didn’t want to give any oxygen to possible misunderstandings. The phrase is catchy but it carries a lot of cultural baggage as does a similar one “Seize the Day”, from over use by the boomer generation.
To me it means recognising just how precious and beautiful are the lives we have been given; not getting ourselves lost among the busy stuff that crowds our days. In contrast youth culture since the 1970s, at least, has tended to taint the concept of living in the moment with strong flavourings of irresponsibility, anarchy and narcissism. A pity.

So I didn’t use that title, because my message differs quite radically.

Every day for many years now I have mixed with people who were meshed into routines that helped to define them and make them materially comfortable, but which also often dulled their awareness of commonplace surrounding beauty. We are most of us so very used to taking our surroundings for granted. We think we are imprisoned by the demands of everyday routine, and if we think that way, we are indeed imprisoned.

The inspiring poetry of the book of Genesis reminds anyone who reads it of the beauty and wonder of the creation in the midst of which we live our lives:

Genesis 1:27-31a (NIV)
[27] So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. [28] God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”[29] Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. [30] And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.[31] God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

Life is a gift. Who among us has done anything to deserve it? The creation that surrounds us is awe inspiringly beautiful. Why not take the time to enjoy that life, appreciate it, and savour it. It is a gift beyond imagining. Why do we allow ourselves to drift along oblivious to the gifts God has created for us, seeing ourselves as wage slaves, prisoners of routine and victims, powerless and hanging out for the next weekend; the next holiday?

One morning recently on my drive to work through high speed, constant lane changing traffic, I refused to be drawn into anxiety and foreboding at what the work day might bring. For a few minutes I made an effort to look at the rain water puddles on the road and the signs, bridges and culverts through a new lens. Strangely enough, I was able to appreciate the whole experience of driving to work as a gift. A gift to be savoured and lived rather than just to be endured. What a wonderful inspiration I found it to be. An inspiring commute. Who would have thought?

I have been thinking since of how important it is to take the time to really see what is around us. To stop and smell the roses, the traffic signs and the trees and the houses and the people. Well, I wouldn’t really recommend smelling people but I suppose you get the drift. Life has been given to you to delight in and savour. One day it will be taken back. Don’t miss its significance by allowing routine and drudgery to swamp you. Live it in the midst of all you do daily. God has given this life to you and surrounded you with gifts that calmly wait for you to recognise them.

I also have something I want to write soon about Easter; something with the title “Easter is for Losers”. Hopefully Inspiration and opportunity will come to me in equal measure. Stay tuned.


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