My elementary school used to have an assembly at the end of each school year when high school students would come and lead us in some special program. I have no recollection of the actual content from the program, but I do vividly remember how old and how cool the high school students seemed. I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to be in high school.”
I eventually muddled my way through middle school and made my way to high school in what, looking back now, seems to be the blink of an eye. I remember meeting college students while I was in high school and thinking about how cool they were. They had their driver’s licenses, lived in places of their own, and college girls seemed especially pretty. I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to be in college.”
I moved out of state for college and enjoyed a fresh start. I loved college life and made great friends, but I remember meeting young married couples who had started their careers and didn’t have to worry about dating anymore and I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to be married and start my career.”
My wife and I married young and enjoyed our early years together, but I remember seeing young parents playing with their newborn babies. I loved my wife deeply and was far from bored with her, but I remember thinking how exciting and life-changing having a child must be. I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to have kids.”
My kids played sports when they were young, and I remember showing up at the fields when there were high school athletes practicing nearby. They looked so much bigger than our kids, and their skills were a lot more advanced. I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to see my kids grow up and be in high school.”
Now, two of our three kids are in high school, and I’d say it’s just about time to pump the brakes a little. It turns out, I’ve spent a little too much of my time looking ahead for what was just around the bend or just out of reach. Obviously, we all have to plan ahead (don’t squirrels save up nuts for the winter?) and there is excitement thinking and dreaming about the future (one of life’s great treasures is dreaming about what could be). As I’ve gotten older, though, it seems most people spend so much time thinking and planning for the future that they miss out on things that are right in front of them, right now.
The great, old book of wisdom known as Ecclesiastes famously says, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). The writer goes on to affirm that there is a time to be born and to die, a time to plant and a time to harvest, etc. This has come to be one of my favorite passages in all the Bible because it affirms each and every moment of our lives. God has created life with a rhythm. There is a time to be young and energetic and have fun. There is a time to be an adolescent and try new things and even make a few questionable decisions. There is a time to build a snowman, and there is a time to enjoy the beach. There’s even a time for cicadas to come out and make a racket!
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow because today’s troubles are enough for today. When we are constantly looking ahead, we often miss what is right in front of us.
If you are a fan of weekends, this weekend is for you! Sunday is the summer equinox – the longest day of the entire year, making this weekend the longest weekend of the entire year. Let me offer you this encouragement – enjoy every sun-drenched, daylit moment. There will always be plenty to do and plenty to worry about, but this long day only comes around once a year. And may that longest day inspire you to enjoy each and every day.
Adam Metz is the pastor of Alum Creek Church in Lewis Center.