Friday, October 5, 2012

The Present

When my sister got married this past July, I had to prepare a toast for the wedding reception. I had never given a toast at a wedding before and at first, I was intimidated. Several times, I sat down at my computer to plan what I would say, but my thoughts weren’t clicking. Then one night after I had been up late working, I had a surge of inspiration while I was brushing my teeth. I rushed down to my computer and within 30 minutes, I had the entire speech drafted out on paper. 

The theme of my toast was Rachel and Matt’s wedding song – Van Morrison’s “These are the Days.” Here’s a quick link to this song, which is one of my all time favorites.


Some of my favorite lyrics include:

These are the days of the endless summer
These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there’s only future
There’s only here, there’s only now

These are the days now that we must savor
And we must enjoy as we can
These are the days that will last forever
You’ve got to hold them in your heart.

In my toast, I talked about how Rachel and Matt spent over a year enjoying their engagement without making any big wedding plans – except for one. Almost immediately after they got engaged, they had chosen this wedding song. I talked about how Rachel and Matt have a gift of enjoying the moment together. Despite how unbelievably successful they both are, they don’t dwell on what needs to be done in the future and they don’t spend time venting about frustrating parts of their day. Like no other couple I have ever met, they enjoy the present moment together, and back in July, I knew that was a true gift. I ended the toast by thanking Rachel and Matt for reminding all of us that these are the days, and the time is now to enjoy them.

Almost exactly one month after Rachel and Matt’s wedding came my cancer diagnosis. It’s so strange to imagine back to a time where I wasn’t dealing with this disease. But I wasn't then. And I'm proud that even back then, I knew that “these are the days” was a precious message.

In my toast, I joked about my tendency to miss the present because I was too busy focusing on the future or obsessing about the past. It’s true, I do that. But I’m getting better at this. Lately, I find such comfort in a simple sentence that I keep telling myself, a simple message that has become a bit of my own personal mantra. I am here now. That's it. I am here now. I didn't read it in a meditation book or find it in a quote collection (obviously, since it's not exactly copyright-worthy). It's just something I find myself thinking when I feel overwhelmed or when I think my mind has drifted away from something important in front of me. Those four words continue to bring me peace. I am here now. Yes, I am. And I'm starting to see that now has way more to offer than I ever before had realized. 

1 comment:

  1. Tara I live by this mantra and it is a gift that you have learned it so early in your life. Cancer is a terrible scary thing but sometimes it gives us insights for the rest of our lives. It did for me. Changed my world view completely.
    I am so happy to see you recuperating. Love Carla