Sunday, 4 June 2017

It's a Dog's Life

It must be nice to be a dog. You just live completely in the moment. For example, I recently took Finley for a walk in the forest. I've been avoiding my "rainbow route" because there's a low spot that earlier in the spring was filled with muddy water. And as a part lab part terrier, Finley loves muddy water. Glen will take him that way because "he loves it" but I'm not so keen.

Call me crazy but I decided what the heck. I like the "rainbow route" and maybe the water has dried up. Finley ran ahead and you guessed it - the water hadn't dried up and he went for it.

It's clear that he loves it. He is in the moment. Not worried about consequences. Not concerned that he will need to get clean. Not bothered that his puppy-parent will be mad. And how could I get mad? He was inviting me to live in the moment too. All the way to the car I kept laughing to myself. Fortunately we have the lake close by so he was able to get washed off.

I, on the other hand, have a more difficult time living in the moment. Like most of us, I either look backward at the past or project forward into the future. I'll even do this with other people. Here's what I mean. On a recent visit to see my dad we got into a bit of a tiff. I'm still not sure how we got upset with each other but it all started when he commented how happy he is that Glen is now pursuing a career in acting. "Has he always been interested in acting?" asks my dad. "Yes," I replied. "Too bad he wasn't able to pursue it because it's harder to get roles when you are heading toward 50." I tried to explain to my dad why Glen has followed a number of different career paths and he kept on asking me "Aren't you happy for him now?" "Yes," I'd reply and then explain something else about Glen or what it was like for anyone trying to find work in the 90's, as if he hadn't been around. That's where we started to get annoyed with each other. But in the end, my dad was trying to bring me into the present moment, to the joy Glen is experiencing right now in acting. Ironic given that this is the same man who regularly asks for my feedback about his own past decisions.

Living in the moment is hard for any of us. It's hard as individuals. And as communities. As I shared in an earlier post we are engaged in a listening process as a congregation. We are discerning our mission in the present Richmond Hill - how to use our gifts and passions as a congregation, and the asset of our building. When inhabiting a building that is over 100 years old it is easy to look back to the good old days. But who we are called to be in a changing community is what we need to be about rather than who we were in previous generations. The needs of our neighbours aren't what they were.

Ironically, it is wondering about our future that has been more of an issue. Almost as soon as our 1950's addition was built the congregation has pondered how to redo it. It was good for the days when there were hundreds of children in Sunday School but now... So every once in a while we've done visioning, even drawn up a possible major renovation. And in the meantime some significant maintenance was deferred. We all know what that impact can be.

Which brings me back to focusing on right now. People are sharing some great ideas as they listen to what is on each other's hearts and minds and looking at the needs of our community in this moment. It's clear that there is holy wisdom among us. And of course as people share ideas I want to jump ahead to all the things we can do in the future when what I need to do is stay in the moment knowing that we will discern our course of action together.

I wish I could be more like Finley and just live in the moment.  

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