Pensive, I stare off into the distance, not really seeing the vista in front of me. I think of the future and, quite quickly, get lost in the emotions and dreams I have swirling around in my mind. Caught in the powerful vortex, I am sucked into the great questions of which I have no answers: Where will I be? Who will I be with? What will I be doing??? I have a fairly concrete plan for the next 3 months (no really, you should see my calendar—there’s no white space left), but have intentionally left blank my year of 2016.
Why, you might ask?
For the first time in my life, I don’t have a red carpet laid out in front of me. There is no doorway open with a bright light shining through, beckoning me to cross that threshold. There is no guide blazing a trail ahead of me in this jungle, no one to follow in their footsteps. For the very first time, my future seems quite… well, open. Blank. Free. Which at first terrifies me! I am the girl with a plan, a well thought-out plan, I might add. I always have my ducks lined up, the details sorted through, the options well labeled and categorized. I hardly ever just wander blindly, hoping to bump into the right door to open or the right path to follow (though this sometimes happens if I misplace my glasses, bewildering moments I try to avoid). So the idea of me intentionally not planning anything is bizarre.
My only reason seems a bit feeble, but it’s all I’ve got—It comes down to the fact that if I think too much about the future, I’ll forget to live in the present. As silly as it sounds, planning and dwelling on my future feels like an escape from the challenges and drudgery of my reality right now. I will invent such a beautiful and perfect future that the world around me right now will become dull, annoying, and burdensome. I will polarize the two, seeing the grass as very green over there, on the other side. I will yearn for the future, and begrudge the present.
And I don’t want that to happen.
So I am avoiding the temptation of daydreaming too much so that I can find joy here in the present too. The key is in noticing the small things, the little gift bundles God throws into every day. When I look up, I can see the clouds in the sky and cherish the rain they bring. When in the countryside, I can see freshly planted coffee and savor the taste of cacao fruit. At the markets, I can marvel at the handiwork of Nicaraguan artisans, both past and present, and admire their artwork. In my rocking chair, I can sip my coffee in the mornings and enjoy the company of my little hummingbird that visits me. Every day, I can laugh and smile and just be with the people I’ve come to call good friends. These are the good times.
Even though my future seems dauntingly blank and looms over me from time to time, I find that it also motivates me to fully engage in the here and now and see how blessed I am. The future will come, and I will be ready for it when it comes.