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As I See It: Here’s to here and now

I’m certain many of you have seen the commercial where a man opens a small note that reads something like, “Your heart attack will happen in one hour.” I can’t remember if this ad is peddling some medicine or advocating a change in lifestyle and I guess that really doesn’t matter.

The ad goes on to make the point that events like a heart attack usually don’t give you much warning. One moment you’re fine and the next moment — Bam!! — you’re on the floor and if you’re lucky you are wondering what hit you. If you’re unlucky, you may not be wondering anything.

I think sometimes we lose sight of today ... the here and now of our life. It’s good to reminisce about the past when things seemed so much better, but we can’t dwell in it because that’s a waste of time.

And too often we spend more precious time planning for a future that we may never see or that is simply unattainable. I’m not saying one shouldn’t make plans for the future; only that it should have its proper place.

I recently decided to take a part-time job at a local gasoline and convenience store and this is where I came back to the here and now. Many years ago I worked in a grocery store doing everything — bagging and carrying out groceries, stocking shelves and eventually managing the frozen foods.

I had a lot of fun with my co-workers and came to know many of the regular customers. It was enjoyable to share a few moments of their day and time just living in the here and now. And I’ve found that again.

Most times I get to spend only 30-45 seconds with a customer, but I’ve noticed that nearly all people are cheerful and upbeat and return a smile with their smile. And I love the little children. A mother and her two sons came in one afternoon — likely right after school — and I asked the boys if they had behaved well enough to earn the treats she was buying. One of them answered, “No.” I guess that was the highlight of my day to see he knew the truth and didn’t fudge at all.

Another of my favorites is getting some minnows for a parent and children — you can see the excitement in the kid’s eyes knowing they are going fishing and that time is going to be special ... as I remember the far too few times I went fishing with my dad.

A book I read several years ago spoke about eternity as an everlasting present — present in terms of right here and right now. That’s a little hard to grasp, but if you think about it and meditate on it, in eternity there is no yesterday or tomorrow, only the present. If you can’t come to grips with this, don’t fret. As one spiritual chorus states, “Farther along we’ll know all about it. Farther along we’ll understand why. Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine. We’ll understand it, all by and by.”

So here’s to here and now. As St. Padre Pio advised all of us, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”

Makes sense to me.

Well, that’s the way I see it.