Every night before I drift off to sleep, I have all these ideas and thoughts about what I want to do the next day. I’ll make an exquisite and healthy breakfast smoothie, make this DIY craft to decorate the living room walls, cut my bangs like this, invite people over for homemade mojitos, take a photo from an aerial view of my shoes and pants while I’m walking to my local pie shop. Possibly tipsy from homemade mojitos.
What really happens? I slumber to the bathroom when I wake up, sleuth back into bed for another hour, skip breakfast, walk from the bathroom, bedroom, office, and living room 37 times, aimlessly, then stand in between the bathroom and bedroom and think, There was something I was going to do today…
This article, among everything that was said, got me thinking about how much, and how quickly, we desire things to have meaning. We’re trying to “inject the present moment with sentimentality,” as Wampole puts it. The present moment — all the posts, pins, and pictures — may, in fact, be very sentimental. But never as sentimental as an aged memory you share at the dinner table. Never as sentimental and meaningful as being present and then letting time take over.
Yesterday, after 27+ years of labor, my parents were able to/had to let the restaurant go. And with barely any business these last few years, scores of customers came to have their last meals and say goodbye to my parents and the business. One faithful patron cried, so my mom cried, and then my sister cried haha. Out of happiness and shared sentiment. My dad said those moments throughout the week made all of these years worth it. Day in and day out, sometimes with only a handful of customers to pass the time, stressing about rent and income, my dad cooking and hosting, and my mom serving — time hadn’t been wasted.
I think about how their lives, their presence, impacted the community they lived in, and it blows me away. People shed tears knowing my parents were shutting down. We want our lives to be meaningful — that’s a good thing. But can we just let meaning be what it is and take its course without forcing ourselves on it? Sometimes I feel a slight pang of anxiety when I have nothing to share, or seemingly nothing to share. No recent pictures or check-ins. Am I going to be obsolete and irrelevant? I think that’s when I start dreaming of the things I’ll do the next day. Things that can be appraised by a vast audience to acknowledge my life and give it instant, obvious meaning. I think my parents, the older generation, know something about being present. Being in God’s presence. Believing in who God created them to be, believing that alone has sweet meaning, and believing it for others. Maybe every task won’t have instant significance, and every move won’t foreshadow revelation. It didn’t for my mom while she walked around an empty restaurant, listless from the lack of customers. But that doesn’t mean purpose and meaning aren’t there. Maybe it’s just a matter of time and being faithful.