Freedom: Being in the Moment

by gary-foote on December 27, 2010

This past week I had the opportunity to visit some family in New Orleans to celebrate Christmas. With all of the trouble that so many travelers have faced with the recent snow sand rainstorms, I am very grateful that none of my flights were affected. This trip to New Orleans was a bit different than in years past. Typically our extended family gets together every two years for Christmas. In the past year, we were blessed to welcome three new babies into our extended family, including my son. So, I felt a little like Joseph on Christmas Eve when my mother-in-law said there was “no room in the inn” at their house.  However, unlike the Holy Family my in-laws had made reservations for us at a Marriot a few miles away. Had that been the case for Mary and Joseph I think the Nativity would have been written a bit different. “Away in a Marriot” just doesn’t have the same ring as “Away in a Manager.”

My wife, children, and I were dropped off at a hotel, car less for our first night. I’ve grown accustom to not having a car at times when I travel, but this was the first time that I was with my wife and children without a mode of transportation. It’s one thing to be alone with “no wheels,” but an entirely different thing to be responsible for others and be immobile. Initially, I felt a little helpless. What if there was an emergency with one of the kids and we couldn’t get to the hospital? We didn’t have any food other than snack food so what would I do if someone got hungry in the middle of the night? I really like to go to daily Mass when it is available (and in New Orleans, there is daily Mass about every 30 minutes until noon), but which one would I be able to attend? My mother-in-law said that she would be back to pick us up in the morning to bring us to her house, but until that time I felt very out of control. Then I realized something. I was in a nice warm hotel with my wife and kids and we didn’t have anywhere that we needed to go or anything that we needed to do. We spent time together playing, laughing, saying prayers, and my wife and I stayed up late catching up on some previous conversations that we hadn’t been able to finish. All in all, it was an amazing time together as a family.

As I thought about my experience, I realized something. I could have very easily missed out on a great opportunity to love and be loved while spending time with my family because I was initially so consumed by having to figure everything out rather than just allowing myself to be present in the moment.  The sad reality is there are probably many times in my life where I have struggled to “be in control” and have missed out on many ways that God has wanted to love me. I also realized that I’ve replaced times of quietness where I could allow myself to grow in my love for God with over zealous plans of what needs to happen next. My hope is that as this year comes to an end and a new year begins I can have the courage to allow myself to live in the freedom of being in the moment. Maybe you can too! Who knows what God has in store for us? I guess we just need to quiet our hearts sometimes and find out….

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Louise January 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Awesome post, Gary– you’ve always inspired me to trust in God more. Happy New Year!

Samuel Haro January 12, 2011 at 6:36 pm

I thank you for this refreshing message. It ment a great deal to me to know that sometimes in life, yes we can control our lives, but it’s in the moments where we allow ourselves to let go to enjoy the moment at hand. A moment to be quiet and joyful for in that moment God is with you.

Thanks again I really needed to read that.

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