It’s amazing how much time we spend preparing to enjoy something. For example, this past August my wife and I took the kids to Chicago for a 4-day weekend. Preparation for that rip began in March, and we spent hours looking for things to do in the Windy City, places to stay, restaurants we wanted to eat at and sites we just “had to see.” We spent a lot of time prepping for this family vacation. I remember at one point during the weekend, while we were walking on Navy Pier and looking at thy skyline as the sun went down, that I was truly just enjoying the moment. We were all together, our stomachs were full from a nice dinner, it was pleasantly warm without humidity, the day had been very fun and some great memories had been made -- and as I stared at skyline that was reflecting the sunset, I was a very satisfied man.
I’ve thought about that day on Navy Pier a few times. I wonder how often I don’t enjoy the moment I’m in because I’ve already moved on to the next thing, or I’m so engaged in creating the moment or just trying to survive the moment. You ever been there? So busy, so distracted or so hurt that you don’t give yourself the chance to enjoy the moment you’re in?
A few years ago, Traci and I were in Hawaii and participating in one of our favorite rituals: watching the sun go down on the west coast of Maui. For the first 20 minutes on the beach I was trying hard to capture the “perfect picture” of a Hawaiian sunset, changing angles, changing my focal point and trying several different filters. I tried some shots from up on the bank, from down close on the water and several random ideas to get that perfect pic.
At one point, I looked up from my camera and realized that most of the people on the beach were sitting or standing with their friends or spouse, and they were all just watching the sun go down and enjoying the moment for what it was -- a beautiful sunset on a beautiful beach. Everyone was surprisingly quiet, almost somber, and the color of the sky reflected off the ocean and on their faces. That’s when I turned around and realized my wife was doing the same -- enjoying the moment -- but without her husband.
I promptly put the camera down, sat down next to my wife and soaked in the remainder of the experience with my favorite person on the planet. And while I never quite captured the perfect photo, I did capture a nearly perfect moment with Traci.
A couple times in my life I’ve taken time to journal every day. Last February I started up again, and I’m taking up a lot of space in this journal unpacking the “moments” of each day; taking time to enjoy the beauty that exists all around me. In this journal, I’m really focusing on the joy of relationships and how much God has blessed me with life-changing friendships. There is so much to enjoy, right now, and when I take time to be in the moment, I don’t have any trouble seeing it.
As you and I strive to live the Overboard Life, let’s not be so focused on the journey, that we miss the scenery on the route. There will always be troubles and challenges to face in this life, but woven into the rugged path is unmatched beauty; beauty that is found in the created world as well as the people that God has brought into our lives. When we quit enjoying the moments, I think it’s easy to quit enjoying the life that God has given us.
Take time today to enjoy the moments that you have. Even when the day is hard, take a moment to look around, and I’m confident you’ll find a person standing by you, a sunset that you almost missed or a good report from a teacher that can encourage your heart.
Go ahead and take the plunge, every moment is better on the water!