I recently attended the funeral of a friend who’d suffered an accidental death. Prior to the funeral there was a viewing where friends and relatives could offer condolences to the surviving family. This friend left a wife and five children. Two of the children are grown and married with children of their own. He also left parents and two brothers.
While waiting in line to speak with the family, there was a slideshow playing on a large screen showing images of this man’s life. There were scenes of family horse rides, family gatherings, family photos and scenes of him coaching football teams of various ages. All the images were snapshots of him being involved in something he loved. They were captured instances of his life where he was doing something meaningful to him. Funny there were no images of him at work.
These are all now past moments. They can’t be called back other than in memory. They have happened, never to be lived again other than in sweet memory.
Then in speaking with wife and children it occurred to me that his future with them in this life is no longer possible. The future that he’d planned was suddenly severed, and all his family can hold to is the memory of the past and a hope for the future that they can be together again in the hereafter.
The only moments that mattered to this friend when he was alive was the present. It was in the present where he established those fond memories his family will cherish. It was only in the present that he could provide for his family beyond his life. It was only in the present that he could teach his children what they needed to know in order to survive life without him.
The past is gone. We should cherish and learn from it. The future is coming, and we should plan for it. But only in the present do we create our lives, good or bad, happy or sad. It can’t be accomplished in the past, and the future cannot be reached until it turns into the present. It is the power of the present where all work is done.
Don’t dwell in the past or live for the future so much that you squander the present.