In our society, young adults are expected to have their entire life planned out. When I come home from college, I don’t get asked about the things I’m involved in. The only questions I receive are,
“So, what are you going to do with your life?”
“Where are you going to live after college?”
“When are you going to be in a relationship?”
“When do you think you’ll get married?”
The amount of pressure that is placed on us, to be honest, is a little bit ridiculous. My life has been turned into a world of worry and regret. I find my mind constantly worrying about what I am going to be doing/ who I am going to be 3 years from now. When I worry about my future, I often fill with regret. My mind questions every decision I’ve made and makes me wonder if any of my decisions were wrong/will change the path I take to get to this, now ominous, future.
Recently, I have been reminded of what it means to truly cherish the moments. Last night, I told some of my friends a story behind the ring that never leaves my finger.
One day, when my mom was in nursing school, she sat down for lunch in the hospital cafeteria. She looked down at her hands and saw the ring. She realized she had forgotten to take it off. You see, if her supervisor were to see it she would’ve gotten in trouble because the only jewelry you were allowed to wear were wedding bands. This ring was definitely not close to a wedding band. My Great Grandma, the one I was named after, had given my mom the ring as a high school graduation present.
For those of you that know me, you know that my Great Grandma has always been extremely important to me. People say that some people grow mean and grouchy as they age, but I can assure you my Great Grandma is evidence of the complete opposite of that. She seems to only get sweeter with every day that passes by. Some years ago, she started to develop dementia. There are always good and bad days, but I never know which day will be the last. I got the opportunity to talk to her on the phone when the rest of my family went to visit her at her nursing home last week. She was having a very good day. My sister told her who I was before she gave her the phone, but I’m fairly certain she didn’t quite understand. She shared a few words about her day and how she was enjoying her time with the family. Our conversation, to the outside ear, could be described as having little to no substance. However, that conversation meant the world to me. I don’t know if that will be the last time I get to speak with her, but that’s the point. It isn’t about where she and I are going to be 3 years from now, it is the small moments we get to share with one another. The only way I get to truly cherish that conversation is because I was living in the moment. A moment that, if it is my last with her, I will be able to look back on and love that I was present in the time we spent together. By present I mean I wasn’t there thinking about the rest of life, I was present in the conversation I got to share with my Grandma. Every day I look at my ring and I remember that moment, and every one in between, without worry.
Now, back to the hospital. My mom quickly slipped the ring off her finger and placed it in her pocket. Little did she know, that small moment would continue to mean the world to her many, many years later. My dad happened to be looking at her from across the room, trying to muster up enough courage to ask my mom out on a date. God was truly looking out for my parents in that moment. My dad had seen the ring on her finger and was disappointed because she appeared to be engaged. BUT, here’s where God comes in, my dad continued to watch my mom long enough to see her take the ring off. My dad’s confidence was restored because he knew if she had removed the ring, there was no way she was engaged. Later on, my dad asked my mom out and the rest is history.
In one single moment, my parents’ lives changed. I ask you, how can we continue to worry about the future when a single moment can mean everything? I’d like to challenge you, as I do myself, to stop worrying about what is going to be and start being present in what is going on. Only then will we find the joy God has in store for our lives.