"Yesterday's the past and tomorrow's the future. Today is a gift - which is why they call it the present." (Bill Keane)An interesting quote. We always like to receive a gift.... yet, we often choose to wait until the future for some awaited happening that seems more glorious than today. Rarely do we live in the present enjoying the things around us but wait impatiently for what is to come.
Last Lord's Day, I heard a two point sermon entitled Thanks - Giving. As the title implies, it is not something to be celebrated once a year with turkey and fixings, but it is a recipe for living in the present.
How we live in the present creates our future. What is past 'fades into history'. However, we can do something in the present to have a glorious future.
My dear husband of 56 years and I planned a quiet Thanksgiving this year, celebrating the day together by just being. However, Monday night I learned that my Aunt Edna died. My plans for the future days were changed as I ponder the wisdom of traveling on Thanksgiving Day, ordering flowers, notifying my brothers and their families, and other things to get ready for an impending trip to Hillsboro.
Somehow, while I called my little brother, I realized that I would not be talking to him this moment, in the present, if it were not for Aunt Edna's passing. As Gene and I visited about her life, he remembered sitting in the backseat as a boy with his brother Jim, as Uncle Eli and Aunt to be Edna drove them home. He remembers her as a spunky lady. She raised four children with Uncle Eli on a farm. They celebrated Thanksgiving on Wednesday as a family. She enjoyed that time - in the present - with her beloved family. After 66 years of marriage, Uncle Eli, 92 years old, is left alone in the present. Yet, memories from the past 66 years race through his mind, and all the 'present memories' he has lived are his forever. And now the present will seem empty without Aunt Edna. He will continue to give thanks and to give with his last breath, no matter what day it is.
Mom and Dad (Anna and Herman) spent their last night together visiting memories and holding each other, for they knew their final separation was at hand. One of Dad's statements that night Mom shared with me, "When Jesus comes, look to the East, you will see me in the air going to meet with Him."
What was their secret? In all things, they gave thanks. Each evening, Dad gave this prayer at the supper table - Come Lord Jesus be our guest, and let thy gifts to us be blessed. He always said this in German - "Kom, Herr Jesu, sei unser Gast, und segne alles, was du uns aus Gnade bescheret hast. " Mom thanked God so often for so many things. The garden vegetables, the first tomato, the fruit from the tree, viewing her stash of home canned foods and after the tornado caused much damage to their home -- she thanked God for life. She would break out into the Doxology - Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Their second secret? Giving. Generosity wore hands and feet and smiles all in the name of Jesus Christ. Mom and Dad's words were laced in encouragement, especially in their latter years. They gave their home to many who passed through, they took food, flowers from their garden, listened to the elderly. Even as Mom gained the age of 84, she would tell me that she must call on the old people. Off she would drive in her maroon-red chevrolet.
Our Suderman and Siemens reunions consisted of laughter, love, devotion, family stories and always something to eat. I don't ever remember a quarrel or even a disagreementvwhen the whole family gathered. From what I know in the various individual families, there were times of teaching, prayer, and Bible Study and chores - responsibilities.
Why are they able to accept the future without fear? Because they lived in the present - a gift from God - to prepare for the future with Thanks to Him and Giving to all. And the present IS a gift from God!
Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you're in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. I Thessalonians 1:2-3 (Message)