There is one memory that has been living rent free in my head for more than 10 years. One evening, I was sent to buy something from our local kantemba (a small roadside shop). As I made the last turn onto the road where this shop was, I was greeted by some music playing from someone’s phone. It was another boy who lived a few houses from where I lived. I did not know him on a personal level but he was around my age. I still vividly remember the thoughts that flooded my mind as we crossed paths. At that point, I also wanted a phone so that I can play some music on demand instead of waiting to hear it from someone else or on the radio. I just wanted a simple phone to do that.
About a month ago, I came across a Facebook post that made me dig through the archives of my mind to try and find similar memories like the one above. Suffice to say, they are too many too number. Once I had a phone that could play music, my wish turned to owning a phone that can take picture. Then it was not only about taking picture but taking very good pictures. In the months and weeks preceding my move to Germany, my last thoughts each night were about Germany – how cool it will be to meet new people, study, start a new life travel, etc. I pictured myself in lecture halls and doing a presentation. There was a lot to look forward to. Now that I am here, I have found myself thinking and planning about the future countless times. I am already looking forward to being done and entering the labour market. I am dreaming about holding my degree and spreading my wings and flying to greener pasture. I believe there is more to come. More to achieve. More to do. Surely this cannot be all there is to life.
The Facebook post I saw which was evidently shared numerous times before it reached my feed read:
I saw a tweet that said, “I feel like I’m constantly worrying about the next part of my life without realizing that I’m in the middle of what I used to look forward to,” and I felt that.
I felt that too. I can look back and at every stage of my life, there has been this lingering worry about what lies ahead. Sometimes it is not only worry but also expectance. Unknowingly, I spend most of my days living in the future. What is sad is it robs me of the joys of today. It dispossesses me of the full joy of experiencing exactly what I wished and prayed for.
There is a balance to aim for. One that puts future ambitions, aspirations and desires in equilibrium with the reality of living in the present. It is vital to be ambitious, to never settle for less and to dream big. I do not want to cease doing so. However, remembering that I stand in a place that at some point only existed in my imagination is equally important. There is joy and fulfilment to be experienced in living today for what it is.
How does one do this? I wish I knew. Nonetheless, I have found comfort in the words of the song by Shane & Shane from Psalm 90. The chorus of the songs says:
When the sun comes up satisfy us
Before the day has passed us by
Before our hearts forget all Your goodness
Satisfy us with Your love
As the summer holidays roll in, I want this to be my anthem. I want to live each day being fully satisfied with where I am. I do not intend to stop dreaming about the future, but I will resolve to remember all the goodness that surrounds me today. I am in the middle of what I was praying for. I tread in a place I once dreamt of standing. I have more than what I longed for at some point in my life. There is enough reason to be content.
But wait! Perhaps these feelings are not entirely wrong. Maybe, just maybe, these thoughts are meant to be a reminder for a greater reality. Peradventure, this is a faint reflection of our soul’s longings which are never fully satisfied. Could it be that when we find ourselves with our feet firmly planted in what we prayed and longer for and yet our minds are wholly consumed with wishes and worries about what lies ahead, then we are just being reminded that no circumstance in this world will fully satisfy? If so, it would aid us to remember the one in whose presence we will be fully satisfied. As C.S Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” Will you be part of that other world and are you looking forward to being there?