Have you ever planned an event in the future, possibly a distant, but maybe not-too-distant future, and as you drew closer to that event 'felt' the excitement grow?
I have, and I am.
Several of my friends have blogged on similar type ideas: the approaching vacation that requires travel to see friends, or maybe the approach of a special day: an anniversary, birthday or special holiday. This looking forward to an event, with either positive or negative feelings is called 'anticipation'. When I am ill, I anticipate my visit to the physician with great dread! When I have a vacation coming up or a holiday or possibly a change of some type, I usually anticipate the event with great hope.
Well, I have not anticipated an autumn like this one in a long time. I am pleasantly excited about the research time with which I have been gifted this fall. I do not teach Monday, Wednesday or Friday so I can research and write undisturbed. I will be a music judge at three marching band competitions in the state of Texas, one at which my alma mater will be participating! I have the opportunity to take my immediate family on a brief visit to friends up north in October - and I am extremely happy about that visit! I am also smitten by my students that I do teach this fall on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. My Old Testament students are a pleasure, more engaged already than ever before! My Theology & Culture students are bold, opinionated and unafraid to speak their minds! The little congregation that I am leading is filled with beautiful people, truly seeking to be what God wants from them. What a fall this will be. The anticipation is almost too much!
There is a downside to all of this though.
Sometimes, anticipation can cause us to focus on the future to the neglect of the present. I know. I catch myself doing that far too often. When we neglect the present though, we can often damage the prospects of the future. Thus, when we look forward to the events of the future, we cannot neglect the program or the day that is right before us.
There are events and people who need a kind word from us; maybe a 'look of love'... we must pay attention to the mundane and the trivial with care, attention and love.
So let me challenge you.
As much as you, like me possibly, look forward to the future in anticipation of wonderful moments, pay attention to this day. Maybe there is someone that you have not connected with in a while - connect with them. Send them a note, an email or a text. Maybe you need to stop for a moment and play with your children. Maybe you need to have that quiet time with God. Maybe, if you have to make a grocery stop today, you can be pleasant with the checker and others that you meet.
Although God gives us a hint of the future and allows us to anticipate, hopefully, a good outcome - the true gift is today.