Remember when I wrote about crying in a coffee shop? Well, the other day I was sitting in the basement of my campus library, misty-eyed and sensing Jesus. I was literally in the middle of writing a paper about the natural sciences, minding my own business and looking at pictures of rocks. I don’t know why Jesus chooses meet me in some of the most unexpected moments in my life, but He does.
I was just sitting on the hard wooden chair, shivering and typing my paper, trying to figure out how to cite an unpublished Theories of Origins textbook. While unashamedly listening to my Sam Hunt pandora station (my favorite homework motivation music), You’re Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins started playing in my headphones. I wasn’t even listening to worship music, y’all. Jesus chose to meet me in a country song. Just sayin’.
The thing is, I’ve heard this song before. It wasn’t one of those “oh-my-word-this-is-a-new-song-and-the-lyrics-are-just-speaking-to-exactly-where-I’m-at” kind of moments. I’m not even the biggest Trace Adkins fan. Yet as the southern drawl enunciated lyric after lyric, I found that my typing slowed and my spirit stirred. . .
She was staring out the window of that SUV
Complaining, saying “I can’t wait to turn eighteen”
She said “I’ll make my own money, and I’ll make my own rules”
Momma put the car in park out there in front of the school
She kissed her head and said “I was just like you”
Before she knows it she’s a brand new bride
In her one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her “It’s a nice place”
She says “It’ll do for now”
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and says “Baby, just slow down”
Five years later there’s a plumber workin’ on the water heater
Dog’s barkin’, phone’s ringin’
One kid’s cryin’, one kid’s screamin’
She keeps apologizin’
He says “They don’t bother me
I’ve got two babies of my own
One’s 36, one’s 23
It’s hard to believe
The chorus goes like this:
You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this
They may not be the most profound lyrics in the world. Maybe you hate country music and don’t even think they are that good. Regardless, they met me in the library with a glorious weight of conviction.
I get that the world, our culture in particular, moves at a “get-to-the-next-thing” kind of pace. We spent highschool dreaming about the day we’ll be in college. College is spent stressing about how we’ll get a job when we graduate. When we get employed after graduation, we wonder when we’ll get married. And when will we have kids? When will we move to a bigger house? How soon until retirement? Grandkids? Great-grandkids? Vacation? We spend our lives looking towards whatever is next. The funny thing is, this futuristic way of thinking often lends itself to idealistic reminiscing. We look back on our lives and wish that we only knew how good we had it back then. We remember tidbits of the past with a fondness that we didn’t feel when we were living it. All while rushing full steam ahead to the next season.
I just wonder why, as Christians, are we okay with living our lives like this? Why do I live like this?We live at the same rushed pace as the rest of the world. Most of the time we do it in the name of “ministry” or for the glory of the Lord. And while Jesus traveled, healed, spoke, and lived out a vibrant, busy ministry, He never did so at a pace that would’ve caused him to miss the moment. Jesus was all about being present where He was at. He found stillness in the midst of pressing crowds. He found joy in the midst of questions. He found purpose, growth, and the Father during times it would’ve been easier to just look ahead to whatever was next.
My internship coordinator has been helping me walk through the process of looking for a summer internship. As I ramble on and on about where I’m going to intern and the frustrations of the application process, he continues to remind me that my internship doesn’t start my first day on the job. My internship started the day I realized I needed to get an internship. It includes every opportunity that has fallen through, every application that I’ve spent hours writing, all the prayers over the places I could go and things I could do. I’m quick to want to get past all of this – the discomfort, the questions, the busywork, the unknowns. I want the internship. Or better yet, I want the potential job after the internship ends. I want the summary paper that I’ll write at the end of the internship class that ties up and makes sense of the whole thing. But that just causes me to miss what’s happening right now. The process. The journey. The ways Jesus is moving, even before things seem to be happening.
It’s fun to dream about what’s next, whether that’s tomorrow or ten years from now. It’s often more fun than focusing on the heartbreak, confusion, schoolwork, diapers, tantrums, questions, drama, and dirty dishes of the moment. But I think Trace Adkins is onto something. Something that I need to be constantly reminded of. It’s not just about moments that we are going to miss someday. It’s about whether or not we are missing Jesus in the moment.
All we’ve been promised is today. This moment. And someday, I’m going to look back on that day in the library and writing this blog post when I should be writing a paper, as a growing, maturing, often overwhelmed Junior in college. It doesn’t always feel good or fun or exciting, but I know that I’m going to look back and miss this. These moments of laughter. Moments of clarity. Moments of tears. I just don’t want to miss them while I’m here. And I really don’t want to look back and say that I missed Jesus in them. Because He’s here, and so are we.