Living in the present

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, May 21, 2023

The years of the Vietnam War hold so many memories. It’s difficult to think of any that bring any joy, but oh the lessons they taught so many. Perhaps if I hadn’t been a new bride “of still counting the months,” the separation wouldn’t have been so harsh, but it was.

From the moment Othel left for his turn of service in that “killing field,” we looked forward to his R&R (Rest and Recuperation) that would come at least half way through his year. I still remember seeing him file out of the bus as I along with a large group of other wives waited to be reunited. That joy really had no descriptive words. But then the shadows swooped over my joy.

The beauty of the Hawaiian island skirted past my vision as I could only see Othel boarding the plane with me waving a goodbye. I missed a lot of the tastes of the fresh pineapple and elegant entrees because I could only taste the bitterness of separation that was only days away. The peace of being together was always invaded by the loneliness I knew was waiting for me, and loneliness counted the days of that week for me. The rich colors of the island flowers were blurred by the dismal shades of sadness I saw waiting for me. I totally missed so much joy because I couldn’t be “in the moment.”

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We got a high school graduation invitation this week, and I thought of all those parents facing a ceremony that holds so many emotions. For the mothers, it’s mostly a kick in the stomach for what that “Pomp and Circumstance” moment holds. So many will begin dreading their child’s move onto a college campus where there won’t be parental attachments. They will ponder a home without the ins and outs of a teenager under their roof. They will reflect on the short growing up days that for some days and nights seemed so long. They will experience interval pangs of what they didn’t teach or how differently they should have managed family time. In short, they will miss the joy “of the moments.”

That great Bible leader, Moses, carried the same DNA that a LOT of us carry — missing the moments. No one but Moses ever witnessed a burning bush that never burned, and he was awed by the realization that this was a meeting with God. However, when God spoke one-on-one with him, he could only respond with “Who am I” or “Suppose this …” The future was all that Moses could think about instead of being in a one-of-a-kind moment for any other human in any other time!

Our Father had the answer for Moses just as he has the answer for all of his children who are dealing with the uncertainties of the future and possible regrets of the past. HE simply told Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Our God is the God of our past and future, but our moments are best enjoyed and blessed when we live in the present — with the great I AM.

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.