The Best of Now and Here

No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)
American Quaker, Poet, and Abolitionist

As I was getting ready for church this morning I was reflecting on this past year and how quickly the months have flown by. It's been a remarkable year, though things haven't always gone the way I thought they might. That's the challenge of placing expectations or time frames on things one can't control -- when things are different you have to learn to adjust.

I was raised to have goals in life - things to work toward and accomplish. At an earlier time in my life I fared pretty well at achieving many of those goals. When my health deteriorated and I wasn't able to do as much as I wanted, it was easy to look back with longing for that which I felt I had lost. Reflecting back from time to time is good, but looking back with longing limited my ability to look forward. I learned to look forward but the unknown was, at times, very scary. Finally, I learned to  take things one day at a time, one step at a time. I didn't let go of my goals, but I learned to keep my eyes open to the possibilities around me. My life is richer because I am learning  to look for the best of now and here.

North Prong Flat Fork Creek
Frozen Head State Natural Area
Wartburg, TN
Last spring I participated in my first guided wildflower hike for photographers at Frozen Head State Natural Area. The event was planned months in advance, long before we knew the wildflowers would bloom 2-3 weeks early this year. When the day arrived, the wildflowers were pretty much gone. Instead of finding masses of trillium and other flowers there were only lingering green leaves. Like many of the other camera-wielding hikers, I started to look at other opportunities and found this scene. Here the green of spring is vibrant, the clarity of the water   pristine -- it is beautiful. It was the unexpected best of the moment -- the best of now and here.

When you find yourself longing for that which is gone or dissatisfied with what is not happening in your life, may you learn to look with fresh eyes at the present moment. There are beautiful blessings right in front of you. All you have to do is stop, look around, and embrace those blessings -- the best of now and here.


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