Beyond the between

Unless you’re a skier, right about now you may be finding yourself in the between times.

You know, the between times – days, even months, that just seem like they’re holding space for the next exciting or interesting or momentous thing that’s going to happen in your life. And here under the gray skies of a Western New York winter, with the full-court press of the Christmas season behind us, January and February present themselves as between times by default.

Now, it’s a peculiarly human quality that we’re able to look to the future. A dog, for example, cannot wrap her head around the concept of “tomorrow we’re going to the park.” For dogs, everything is the here and now. But you and I are different. We have calendars and expectations, and a very human thing we do is to anticipate and plan.

That can take us far. But here in the gray season, I try to caution myself against overindulging that future fever. I try not to mutter imprecations when I’m snow brushing the car, for example, or growl when the sun is gone by 4:30, or count down the days until the vernal equinox arrives.

We get a certain number of days on this good earth, and I think God must shake God’s head when a spate of days becomes just a stretch to be gotten through. Because when you think about it, we’re always in the between times, aren’t we? We’re always just past the last thing, and always on the cusp of the next thing. The trick is to live – really live – in the day you’ve been given, and at the end of it raise a prayer of gratitude that you had that day at all.

I don’t want to just be passing through. Hard as it sometimes is, I want to be there, conscious and engaged.

Be. Here. Now. It’s the work of a lifetime.

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