Last Sunday, Randy had some tests done at Vanderbilt Hospital and learned the same day he has an inoperable mass in his brain the size of a golf ball. Fifty-six years old, he runs six miles every day and is a picture of health. Tomorrow he will have a biopsy that will determine the course of treatment he will need to pursue.
“Don’t get me wrong,” he said. “It’s not that I’m not afraid. I’m not sleeping at night. But I’ve always approached everything with a positive attitude. It’s the tough times that help you to grow. And this is a page turner.”
He sounded like the CD I had been listening to that morning: Richard Rohr’s The Art of Letting Go. Rohr speaks about nine levels of spiritual (not religious) development, suggesting it takes page-turning events in your life to help you move from one level to the next.
That doesn’t mean everyone moves to a new level. Few people move past level two or three. Many remain at the first level where security and pleasure are the dominating values. But those who understand that all things work together for good are more likely to transition and become a person with greater depth than someone who lets circumstances overwhelm them.
I imagine that moving from one level to another is kind of like being born again. Randy is experiencing the labor pains of new life as he travels the path through this birth canal. He doesn’t know what he will face on the other side of tomorrow, but he’s trying to position himself to meet it head on.
Randy gave me his three word philosophy of life—“Be here now.”
I said, “Because the kingdom of heaven is at hand?”
“No. I don’t go there with it.” (He knows I always go there because that’s my current passion.)
He said, “I never answer my cell phone when I’m talking to someone because I don’t want to miss anything. I was in a McDonald’s the other day and watched a soldier sitting at a table with his two children. He spent the whole time working on his iPhone and missing the opportunity to interact with his children. He wasn’t there.”
“Even at church, people are often so busy that they don’t have time to stop to have a sixty second interaction with another person that could bless them.”
Be here now.
Don’t live in another place, or as if you think there is greater blessing somewhere else and you must hurry to get to it. Live where you are.
Don’t live in the unknown—tomorrow. You don’t know what it will bring. The unknown is more fearful than what you have to deal with today. And don’t just deal with today. Open your eyes to the riches of the kingdom that are within your reach.
Reach out to take in the beauty that exists in this moment. Reach out and touch the love that exists in this moment. Inhale the joy that waits to enter into your lungs right now.
The kingdom doesn’t come tomorrow. It’s at hand. Be here now. Be on the page called today.
Please join me Friday in lifting Randy and his family in prayer as they all turn another page.