I read this little gem in a blog this week. It was a throw-away comment on a business blog, but one that struck a chord with me. The translation all depends on whether you start the sentence with an indefinite article or a definite one. (I’ll bet that just took you back to long English grammar lessons at school!!!) In other words, if you write “a present is a gift” then you are talking about something usually physical that someone gives you. And yes, obviously, someone giving you something is a gift.
However, the version I have been mulling over is the other one –the present is a gift. That’s a whole other ball o’ wax! All we have is right now. What we’ve done in the past makes us into what we are right now. The future is unknown but what we do right now is what makes our future selves. So what we have right now is priceless! We have the chance to change our lives – to rewrite our course through life – just because we have right now – the present moment.
This is so mind-blowing. I’ve thought about it before, as I’m sure you have as well. It’s one of those student navel-gazing topics on similar lines to ‘why are we here?’ and ‘what’s existence’? I’m sure you remember those heady days when you first got to grapple with life’s big questions. I still have those days on a regular basis – usually from spotting something wonderful in nature.
And during tough personal times, when we spend a lot of time looking in at the minutea of our day-to-day lives, and our relationships and our purpose in life, and reflecting on what might have been and what still could be, realising that the present is our chance to do something different, to change the results we’ve been getting, to alter the path of our trajectory in life can be a tremendous gift.
I’m not talking glibly here. I mean this. I’m living it right now. And one thing I learned this morning, whilst watching a buzzard seemingly hanging immobile in the sky, is that the present is for living, for embracing, for enjoying, for understanding. Today I have really had a sense of the present as a gift. I hope I always have the grace to value that gift and to embrace it with gratitude, joy and passion.