Now is Not Then
I picked up the phone and it was my favorite call on the line, a crying woman. She had just received a diagnosis with not too good of a prognosis. She was sitting in the car in the parking lot of the clinic. After the flood, I suggested that she clean her face and put on fresh makeup. “You know I don’t wear makeup,” was her feeble reply. I sometimes forget these youngsters are different from women I know from my era, but non-the less she calmed down.
Five years later, I pick up the phone and it was my favorite call on the line, the same crying woman. She was sitting in the car, in the parking lot of the same clinic as before. She had just received the all clear. Nothing was there. All gone, praise God. After the flood, I asked her where was she parked now, in reference to where she was parked when she first gave me the news five years ago. She said, “I can barley see the spot where I was then because its way over there.” Did you catch that? Way over there. This was so metaphysically representative of the journey, of the growth. She was now living in a place beyond the condition. Sometimes all we have to do is to keep going.
“My Walk” by Robert Yarbrough
We all have an experience that we can relate to this in some kind of way. It might be a stretch but give it a minute. Where in our journey in life have we overcome, grown beyond, let go of something that no longer served us well or was just some temporary bad Juju in our lives? See, you can put your finger right on it. Take a deep breath and be so grateful that now is not then. Step-by -step, inch-by-inch, one foot in front of the other and the journey continues.
One of my minister brother buddies has this saying, “Welcome back to where you never left.” He states that in reference to how we grow into allowing ourselves to be ourselves again. Whole, healthy, and free. We had gotten away from that and in so doing; open ourselves to all kinds of crazy experiences. Even now things pop up that look like something that we have experienced before and we try to go there, to that place called the past, where there is no life. I find myself standing in the middle of the floor closing my eyes and repeating to myself, “Now is not then.” It helps bring me into this present moment of the journey.
It’s been an exciting journey. Yes that does include all my stuff because it was mine. But once I realized that, I got about the business of clearing it up. Now is not then. Most of my stuff was unnecessary to be a part of my life today, so I let it go. The most wonderful thing in my journey forward is my current experience, light, easy breezy, because I am not trying to live anywhere except now. Its pretty cool if I do say so myself. Being OK with me, yeah pretty cool it is.
So along the journey, along the way, know that all your past experiences will forever be a part of you by right of consciousness. They are your make up, they helped mold you into the wonderful self that you are and have always been. But if you ever get stuck in an icky feeling, just remind yourself, Now Is Not Then. Peace.
– Rev. Bobby