Chapter Oneon waiting
I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to
become something else, waiting to be that person I always
thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that
life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one
step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could
become the college version of myself, the one my mind
could see so clearly. In college, the post-college "adult"
person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger,
more organized. Then the married person, then the person
I'd become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I
have waited to become the thin version of myself, because
that's when life will really begin.
And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is
passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am
waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will
I love movies about "The Big Moment"-the game
or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal,
the stories that split time with that key event, and everything
is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed
everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event,
something that will change everything and grab me out of
this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and
cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big
moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be
celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to
work and coming home, and that wasn't what it looked like in
John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens when
you're busy making other plans." For me, life is what was
happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was
ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade
into the background, and that my big moment would carry
me through life like a lifeboat.
The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth.
Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the
Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that
football player or that singer is living a life made up of more
than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion
moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of
luminous, glowing pearls. And strung together, built upon
one another, lined up through the days and the years, they
make a life, a person. It takes so much time, and so much
work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so
much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies.
But this is what I'm finding, in glimpses and flashes:
this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing
I'm waiting for, that adventure, that movie-score-worthy
experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life
ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and
apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our
dreams and prayers and fights and secrets-this pedestrian
life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience.
I believe that this way of living, this focus on the
present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration
not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your
own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way
of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a
glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was
coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting
can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep
us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free
to observe the lives we have been creating all along without
even realizing it.
I don't want to wait anymore. I choose to believe
that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this
day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big
moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered
like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny
moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we
grab on to and extend to one another. That's the drama of
life, swirling all around us, and generally I don't even see it,
because I'm too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think
I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour,
every conversation, every meal, every meeting.
The Heisman Trophy winner knows this. He knows that
his big moment was not when they gave him the trophy. It
was the thousand times he went to practice instead of going
back to bed. It was the miles run on rainy days, the healthy
meals when a burger sounded like heaven. That big moment
represented and rested on a foundation of moments that
had come before it.
I believe that if we cultivate a true attention, a deep
ability to see what has been there all along, we will find
worlds within us and between us, dreams and stories and
memories spilling over. The nuances and shades and secrets
and intimations of love and friendship and marriage and
parenting are action-packed and multicolored, if you know
where to look.
Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life
you've been waiting for is happening all around you. The
scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more
than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and
peanut butter that you're having for lunch on the coffee table
are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This
is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around
us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull
off the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made,
chosen, woven, crafted.
Your life, right now, today, is exploding with energy
and power and detail and dimension, better than the best
movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your
friends and your house and your dinner table and your
garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a
story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is.
You have stories worth telling, memories worth
remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth
feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of
the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super
You are more than dust and bones.
You are spirit and power and image of God.
And you have been given Today.