Every once in a while we are reminded to “live in the present.” This is a wise reminder, because this present moment is truly all we have, isn’t it? We can’t return to the past, nor can we leap to the future. Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow.” He knew how unnecessarily burdensome it is to anticipate the future. We also have heard the advice, “Leave the past behind.” It does us no good to look at the past with regret or longing. Life is more abundant and fully savored when we are present to the experiences, relationships, surroundings or thoughts that we currently have before us. We only have THIS very moment, this precious minute that we are living right now.
But sometimes the present is exactly where we don’t want to be! We find ourselves longing for better days from our past or wishing for more promising days in our future. We wish for the times after the big work project is complete… when we can take a vacation… once school is finished… when Friday arrives… after the divorce is finalized… when the house is sold… once the chemotherapy is over. When life is difficult or challenging, the present time is the very time we are wishing away- not the time we are savoring!
Jan Karon, author of the Mitford Series books, has written a book titled Patches of Godlight. The book is presented as a collection of favorite quotes and Bible verses compiled by the beloved Episcopalian priest in the Mitford books, Father Tim. Patches of Godlight is described as “words of wisdom from Mitford- a treasury of quotes that inspire and comfort Father Tim.” We are invited to enjoy this book, “for words that speak to the heart, and thinking that opens the windows of the soul.”
The words, “Patches of Godlight” came to me yesterday as I walked at the park. I enjoyed seeing the sunlight scattering playfully on the path, moving with the shadows of the leaves and branches. The sunshine gave its bright radiance to the greenery- and to my countenance. The sunlit places also brought a richer depth and color to the shaded areas of green and brown. I noticed how these “Patches of Godlight” blessed my walk and my soul with beauty and joy.
When our present moment is a desperate time we would rather NOT face, we are given “Patches of Godlight” to sustain us. Even in our despair, if we watch for these patches we can find blessings and reasons for hope. Sometimes these patches are favorite Bible verses or inspirational quotes- like Father Tim’s. Sometimes these patches are our faithful, trusting prayers. Sometimes these patches are the kind loved ones who check in on us, pray for us, and help us through these times. Sometimes these patches are radiant sunbeams streaming through the shade, a little bluebird resting at the feeder, or festive daisies adorning the roadside. These patches are our comfort and inspiration when the present time is difficult. And always, always these patches are gifts from God, who promises to love us and help us- through every precious moment of our lives.