this present moment

I’ve been feeling pretty down on myself these past few months. Partly because of the experience of being a new parent, I think, and partly because of growing older. When things go badly with a baby, you pretty much have to admit it’s not the baby’s fault. It’s not always my fault either, I know. But it often has been. And I’m seeing more and more my limitations and faults with the perspective of my forty-plus years. This is probably a good thing, seeing myself more honestly, truthfully. But it hasn’t felt the greatest.

So, appropriately for the season, I’ve been really appreciating the meaning of forgiveness and grace lately. It’s much simpler, and more powerful, than I had previously realized.

God’s forgiveness and grace allows us to be with God in the present moment. That’s all, really. And everything.

As I’ve been painfully aware recently, fear and shame tear us away from God and away from the present. Fear throws us into a future we are not ready for. Shame drags on us from the past, a past we cannot change or erase. But it’s only in the present moment that we can act. And it’s in the present moment that God exists. To have our attention continually diverted from the present keeps us both isolated from God and incapable of acting rightly.

What God’s grace and forgiveness offers is a reconnection with God, now. Not just once in our lives, at a unique moment of conversion, but at every moment. We no longer have to be driven by fear and shame but can exist with God in the present moment, act with God’s love in the present moment. And it doesn’t matter if our lives up to this point have demonstrated that we do not have the strength or the wisdom or the love to do the right thing. Of course we don’t. God has the strength and the wisdom and the love. Is anything more than that needed? Can anyone possibly add anything to that? What we are offered is God’s strength and wisdom and love in this present moment, to live, to act, this moment.

That is the essence of hope, no matter what our life has been, no matter how little of it is left here on earth. And that is what life really is. Not the sum of our past experiences or accomplishments, or even relationships. Life is to exist and love and act with God, in this present moment.