I wasted years of my life. Well, they weren’t totally wasted but they were far less than they could have been. Why? Because I lived for the goal, I longed for the achievement, and I waited for the future. While the awards and milestones are great, they are few and far between. In recent years I’ve found seeing and celebrating each day like it’s Easter has had mind-blowing affects on every fiber of my being and my actions.
How does the Spirit, or Wise Guide on the Inside as some say, speak to you? I ask because a main way I’ve come to see the Spirit speaking in my life is when I get the same message from a variety of sources in a short period of time. I bring that up because an idea I’ve been hearing from songs and podcasts recently can be partially summed up by James Oppenheim’s observation: “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.”
Have you heard of Lorde? She’s a young singer, songwriter from New Zealand who blew up globally 5’ish years ago. In her song “Perfect Places” (here’s the link, FYI there’s a couple curse words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0DjcsK_-HY) she sings of striving, partying, etc. to get to those pinnacle, “perfect” places, before concluding: “What the heck are perfect places?” What I take from that is a wise beyond her 21 years insight; I’d put it like this: You are wasting your time looking, medicating, seeking, striving, waiting, etc. for some OTHER, “perfect” place, because the truly perfect and only “place” is right here and now EXACTLY where you are.
Another band I really dig is AJR, which if I recall correctly is the initials of the three brothers who comprise the group. My wife Lisa and I saw them open for Ingrid Michaelson a year’ish ago, before they even had a full album out and thought they were fantastic. They went from performing on the streets of New York City to touring the nation and are full of energy and enthusiasm that’s contagious … but I digress. 🙂
In their song named “The Good Part”, the lead vocalist yearns for future glory days, while mourning the present struggle. He longingly sings right now “it’s so hard, can we skip to the good part?” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il5Lk3vyhlg) That resonates SO MUCH with me! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I could fast forward my life through the current struggle, obstacle, pain, mundane, doubt, fear, etc. and “skip to the good part”. Do you know what I mean? Once again, I think the singer is prophetically pointing at a Truth: The juice of life, the fullness of life, the flourishing life is found here and now, NOT sometime or somewhere else. This leads me to the third voice that spoke this message to me, isn’t there something powerful about threes? He’s one of my favorite thinkers, authors, and speakers (he’s Irish so the accent ROCKS!).
Philosopher Peter Rollins works at the intersection of philosophy, counseling/psychology, and theology (SO fascinating and helpful!), and says there’s a crucial difference between pleasure and enjoyment. Philosophy, he says, defines pleasure as the joy felt at and/or after the momentous event. It’s getting married, graduating, winning the Super Bowl, getting the dream job or house, and so on. It’s momentary. Enjoyment, meanwhile, is the bliss found in overcoming the obstacles in between, doing mundane tasks, going to work, and generally doing life.
I don’t think I’m alone is saying I got caught up in the pursuit of pleasure, living for the future, waiting for _____ to be happy. I thought life was going to be grand when I graduated high school, graduated college, got a “real” job, got married, got a promotion, and so on. And while all those were GREAT, they were fleeting, momentary, and a VERY small percentage of life. While we should prepare for and celebrate the momentous events in life, equally, if not MORE, important is to cherish and revel in the journey in between.
This brings me to Easter and something an AMAZING friend of mine, Liberty said: There’s a difference between fulfillment and achievement. Achievement is the natural happiness of “winning the Super Bowl” (i.e. big life milestones), while fulfillment is taking pleasure in ALL the rest. Easter was an event wherein Jesus the Christ defeated Death and Sin 2,000+ years ago and rose from the dead, showing Divine Love and Light is more powerful than the darkness of death and wrongdoing.
Did you know that for the first 300’ish years of Christianity Easter wasn’t a big deal? Why? Because they celebrated Easter EVERY Sunday! Every week was a remembrance of and living into ALL things being made new, filled with life, raised from the dead, connected to God, and so on. I say we go back to this and take it further! Let’s celebrate everyday like it’s Easter, let’s enjoy every moment like we got a promotion, let’s notice the beauty that’s in the people, trees, mountains, rivers, oceans, clouds, sky, sun, stars, moon, and so on ALL the time and smile. Everyday is a resurrection. Each moment is a triumph. All breaths are miracles. THIS step is a dance party. We merely have to choose to see it!
Grace and peace,