I Would Rather Be...
We've all seen the bumper stickers that announce "I'd rather be fishing" or "I'd rather be in Hawaii" or "I'd rather be two-steppin'." Anything but being in the present doing what you're doing. Not that fishing or dancing or being in Hawaii are bad things--not at all. But living in a grass-is-greener mode can be particularly unsatisfying.
Then, several years ago, Lawrence saw a different bumper sticker: "I would rather be here now." He was especially struck by that. So I went looking, found a magnetic version, and got two copies for him for Christmas. Two, in case one got lost, I guess?
But not to worry. Mr. Lawrence remembered that we not only have metal vehicles, we also have a metal front door. So #2 found its home there, on the inside, where we see it every time we go out.
I confess, "I would rather be here now" is an aspirational statement for both of us. There are still plenty of times when we get whine-y about life, circumstances, location, weather--you name it: "I wish it was spring [summer, fall, winter]!" or "I wish we didn't have so much traffic here when there's a football game!" or "I wish he wasn't such a grump!" or "I wish she would be on time!" I'd rather be gardening...skiing...wealthier...younger...single (sometimes!) ...living somewhere else...anywhere but here.
On a lighter note, I recently saw a photo of another version that had been attached to a tree: "I'd rather be slowly consumed by moss."
Still, the bumper stickers remind us to be present and mindful in the moment, to be at peace, to simply rest in all the beauties and miracles of now. And there are literally millions of them at any given time, within each cell of my body, each molecule of air, each moment of existence.
Really, there is no moment other than now. I can imagine the future and remember the past (with questionable accuracy according to recent research), but I can only actually live and be truly alright in this very moment.
But as a sensitive or compassionate human being, it can be hard to be present in such a crazy world. So I close with a wonderful Wendell Berry poem I've shared before.
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Until next time,
Bumper sticker, D. Hunt
Mossy woods, Ron Otsu, unSplash
Wood duck (drake), Joshua J. Cotten, unSplash