The Present

We sat down to dinner with the table almost creaking under the weight of the food.  As is our habit, we prayed before we began to eat, realizing that all the blessings we enjoy are really gifts from a loving Creator.  We held hands around the table, a chain of family and friends, from very young children all the way up to Great Grandma, showing our love for each other and thankfulness for the gifts.

Grandpa prayed, as usual. 

By long experience, I have learned the attention span of the children is short.  Dinnertime is not the time to engage in long-winded prayers, remembering all the sick and troubled, all those who have traveled afar, and those in the world less fortunate than we. 

No, we are simply thankful for the food and a few other blessings, asking that we will be faithful stewards of the gifts.  Short prayers are the best at the dinner table.  My grandchildren would agree. 

Some time ago, they learned that the words, in Jesus’ name, usually preceded Amen, which was the signal to eat.  Accordingly, the older girl would begin saying Amen as soon as those other words were heard. 

I’m not sure if I have gotten longer-winded with time, or if the girl has just learned the process can be hurried a bit, but recently, she has taken to saying the word earlier in my prayer, long before I’m ready to invoke our Savior’s name. 

Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, is what I heard at the table today as I Franz_von_Defregger_-_Grace_Before_Mealstarted to wind up my prayer. 

I hurried a bit faster to the real Amen! which echoed from several different points of the table.  We all laughed and Grandma hugged the beautiful girl as the abbreviated prayer was ended.

 These times are precious and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

It did make me think a bit, though.  I wonder if deep down inside, we’re all still little children at heart.  We are in such a hurry to get to the next part that we forget to enjoy where we are right now, today. 

For some reason, we keep looking to the future and its promise, forgetting that the reality of the present is actually a gift given for us to savor and to carry us into that future. 

I know I am often guilty.  Just get me through this day—this job—this crisis, and I’ll be okay. 

Then I get to the future and it’s not much different—simply more wishing for whatever comes next.

I’m not a lover of country music, but I can’t get the words of this song from the seventies out of my head:  I…I’m driving my life away, looking for a better way, for me.  I’m driving my life away, looking for a sunny day…  

It’s not so much that we’re driving it away as we are working and eating and sleeping it away, but little by little it is speeding past, while we look for that time when we’re satisfied with where we are. 

I’m pretty sure that time never arrives unless we learn to be satisfied with today, here and now.

As children, we learn to wait (and long) for future events—class bells to ring—big yellow buses to come—summer vacation to parole us.  Back then, it seemed that those things took forever to arrive.  From today’s perspective, they came and went with lightning speed. 

But, still we wait for future events and thus waste today and its joy.

I hear a little voice out there saying, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, and realize that it’s time to stop blabbering on now. 

I will oblige. 

But I will say this before I stop:  This is the day which the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it! 

Take time to live, really live, on this spectacular day. 


It is indeed a lavish gift not to be ignored, nor scorned.




Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future.
(from Fly Like An Eagle ~ Steve Miller Band ~ 1976)

Godliness with contentment is great gain.
(I Timothy 6:6 ~ NIV)



© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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