next

My eyes are wide open. I’m looking with great anticipation for it. I dream about it. I talk about it. I plan for it. I wait for it. I pray about it. I save for it.

And I just realized it doesn’t even exist. 

What is it? 

It is next.

I just finished reading “Doing Life Differently” by Luci Swindoll and was challenged by this quote:
“Nothing happens next. This is it.”

This. Right here. Right now. There is no next. Or maybe there is, at least an illusion of next. But “next” never really comes. As soon as you are where you wanted to be “next”, there’s another “next” in front of you. 

Next is not the present. Next is not here and now. Next is not content or satisfied. Next is tiring. Next is an endless quest. Next is actually a mirage, an illusion, a false reality.

The thing about next is, for me, it’s a symptom of discontentment. I always want what’s next, as if what is right in front of me isn’t good enough.  When I was in highschool, I wanted what was next: college. When I was studying in college, I wanted what was next: a big girl job. When I was single, I wanted a boyfriend. When it was fall, I wanted winter. In the thick of winter, I want spring. I always want what’s next. What a vicious circle.

The reason I’ve wanted next so badly lately, is because in my mind, next is better. Next is more financial security. Next is more courage. Next is more patience. Next is more efficient and productive. Next is more joy and peace. 

This illusion of next is a mirage of water in the heat of a desert. Next isn’t satisfying like I originally think it will be. It’s not that spring won’t come. It’s that, when it’s spring, I’ll always want what’s next: summer. I will never reach next. There is always a next. Since next can never really be attained, I’m choosing to live like next doesn’t exist. 

Life is transitory and it doesn’t get any better. This is what I’ve been learning from Luci: “…it doesn’t get any better than this, because the ‘this’ of life is what I make it, not what happens outside myself. If I don’t live fully in the moment, there’s no rewinding or playing forward that assures me of a better day.”

Somewhere deep within me, I yearn to be present. To be real, raw, gutsy and honest about what’s right in front of me. I long to embrace my reality. I want to live fully in each moment. Wherever I am in life can be my very best place. Why not savor the sweet and the sour, the humidity and the biting wind, the loneliness and the freedom? Why not live fully in the moment? Why not make the best out of my current situation?

We’re all puffs of air, like the Psalmist said, shadows in a campfire, a spit in the wind…And life is fleeting, like the morning fog. 

So may we live in the now. May we see the reality around us, make the best of it, enjoying each step. May we be satisfied deep in our souls. And may we embrace each moment we’ve been given.

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