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April 07 • Presently

Day 638

A friend once asked me to do her funeral when and if she lost her daily battle with cancer. She did, and I did, and it changed my life. I began the service holding up a sign that she had on the wall of her office:

Today is a gift from God; that's why it's called the Present.

That was more than twenty years ago — some 7600 presents ago — most of which I wasted large parts of in various sexually addictive behaviors. I wasted those presents worrying about what was going to happen in ten years or ten minutes — wasted them finding ways to avoid the present by giving in to harmful thoughts and hurtful deeds. Now I only have one present left: Today. Sometimes I struggle with my lack of dreams for ten years from now. In the days of a pandemic I sometimes fear being able to keep my house and feed my family, but most of the time these days I am acutely aware that if I do not get to those days sober, getting there will have little meaning, and will certainly not feel like success. So every morning, I pull the little ribbon off of my Today in hopes of finding hope, humility, and new ways to connect with those I love, including my Higher Power. Once that's done, I can think about those longer-term things. I choose not to worry about them, but that doesn't mean I ignore the investments in the future. I can be perfectly in the present, and still plant a flower that I won't see for a year or more. I can still kiss my children and hope the love they feel will pay forward to their children and their children. Living one day at a time does not keep me from investing in the future, it just helps me not crash and burn from the pressure of that which I cannot control. I needed that today.

– JR



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