Reveling in the present
Linda Downing | Highlands TodayIs anything harder than being in the now? Too often, yesterday seduces with nostalgia, regret or fear. That trio dooms our future. We skip the present, as if in a drug-induced stupor, jolted occasionally by the admonition to "stop and smell the roses."
Published: April 27, 2012
Published: April 27, 2012
Why not claim May Day, that ancient May 1 tradition of reveling pagans, as "Be-In-the-Now Day"? Issue a "Mayday!" distress signal, a search for the hope of those who dance around the maypole, thankful for the return of spring and summer and fruitfulness.
We could refuse to dance because of the bad economy, the cruel suffering, the deluge of hypocrites in politics and religion and daily life. We could blame our parents or take this advice from Bill Gates' rules of reality and success: "If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them."
In Chicago, blaming weather's highs sunk to new lows. When homicides rose by 60 percent the first three months of 2012, criminologists said that unseasonably warm weather meant people could get outside more. That brought this conclusion: More interaction with other people means greater opportunities for conflict. Well, duh!
Couldn't we go somewhere else? Heaven knows we're always trying. Our tools (or toys), satellites and telescopes, keep us peering out. Last June, scientists watched a sun-size star get sucked into a giant black hole, concluding this "might" be the way galaxies are formed. In September, astronomers announced discovery of 50 "new" planets. Of one, they gushed: "If we are really, really lucky, this planet could be a habitat just like Earth." By January, they proclaimed we are "awash in planets" and "things we didn't even think could exist." Like God perhaps?
"Avatar" creator James Cameron recently soloed in his 12-ton sub to the deepest known trench in the oceans, seven miles below the western Pacific. He described it as a "barren, desolate lunar plain."
By the end of 2011 the Earth's population reached 7 billion people. Most of them, despite circumstances, want to live. Many of them romanticize living in a different time or place, but they don't wish to travel via death.
In America in the past 30 years, we have tripled the number of people living past 90. Researchers are vying for cash prizes in a race to decipher the complete DNA code from 100 people older than 100.
Let us acknowledge on May Day a longing for better things, what Acts 3:19 calls "times of refreshing." We are not alone: "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time" (Romans 8:22).
In the U.S., May 1 is designated as Law Day, proclaimed by President Eisenhower in 1957 to reflect on the role of law in our society. Perhaps we can also think about the role of God in our laws.
There's more: May 1 has been established since 1958 as Loyalty Day, a time to reaffirm loyalty to our country's heritage of freedom. Perhaps we can also acknowledge loyalty to the source of freedom — creator God.
And on May 3, National Day of Prayer, we might pull together in a united dance to make the most of our present.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.