One of the characteristics of an everyday steward is that he or she is mindful. When we are mindful of where we are, what we are doing, and our all that surrounds us, two things are possible: 1) We can truly be grateful to God for all that has been given to us, and 2) We can hear Christ speak to us in ways that we would miss otherwise. We find ourselves living in the present without the baggage of the past and without fear of the future.
There were several times in the past few weeks that I tried to be more mindful in various situations. First, I was traveling in the Pacific Northwest, riding or driving in a car sometimes 3-4 hours between speaking locations. Being mindful during those times was easier than most. Witnessing the majesty of a forest or a mountain can take your breath away. The key was to pay attention to how my body responded to the scenery. To feel the flutter in my stomach or notice the wonder I felt in my mind made it more possible for me to thank God for such a work of creation. Rather that just see what God had made, I experienced what God had made and was aware of being a part of that creation as well.
Secondly, I followed up that week with a week of family vacation. The goal there was to be mindful both to the experiences of leisure and my family. A family vacation can be tricky because we need to relax and take time for ourselves, but we also need to be present to others and renew our relationships with them. The result of being mindful in both of these cases is that we really have a chance to share ourselves more completely with others. When our attention to details and environment is at a lowered level, we can completely miss an expression on the face of a loved one or the sensation of love for that person. This vacation, I worked on being more present to experiences I was sharing with my children: swimming in the ocean or pool, playing lacrosse on the beach,throwing a frisbee, etc. I became keenly aware that these moments would never occur in the same manner again. I therefore cherished them in a way that I couldn’t if I was acting more mechanically. These gifts from God, my wonderful children, will be older next summer, and for sure, different. Today was about today and all that God provided for us at that moment. I was able to respond to God’s call in my life to be a father in a more profound way that ultimately benefited them, but also, allowed me to be more of the man I was created to be.
It is not always easy to be mindful. The world is so very busy. Our minds so often want to run on auto-pilot. But on this day, just like every other day, God has much in store for us. To miss it, even some of it, is somewhat tragic. Today will not come again. Today may just make the difference in terms of all our tomorrows. Be good stewards today and be mindful of the great works God has done!