Never or Now

By Lisa Fitts
By Herbert Yoo
By Cymone Canada
By Dave Grogan
By Arnie Fenton
By Dan Millner
By Alex Joseph
By Samantha Harton
By Bailey Catone
By Colin Campbell
By Barb Harris
By Mark Mercer
By Sereena Bexley
By Vennecia Jackson
By Mary Lata Thottukadavil
By Michael Agnew
By Kristie Davis
By AJ Jerkins
By Caroline Smiley
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Dawn Johnson
By DJ Newman
By Mary Weyand
By Rob Nickell
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Nila Odom
By Sherene Joseph Rajadurai
By Kristi Sheffy
By Sharon Arrington
By Sarah Crawford
By Betsy Paul
By Angel Piña
By Elizabeth Piña
By Chris Kuykendall
By Matt Holland
By Jessie Yearwood
By Brian Severski
By Brian Arrington
By Will Meier
By Clint Calhoun
By Jen Mayes
By Jim Henry
By Kevin Harwood
By Leah Vanhorn
By Janett Miller
By Isaac Harris
By Chad Golden
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Lauren Geppert
By Jennifer Durrett
By Jill Asibelua
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Sissy Mathew
By Shannon Pugh
By Al Palamara
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Barry Jones
By Bryan Eck
By Tricia Kinsman
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Andy McQuitty
By Kevin Dial
By Corbin Pierce
By Claire St. Amant
By Julie K. Rhodes
By Anonymous
By Jasmine Bibbs
By Debra Fournerat
By Kat Armstrong
By Jeffery Link
By Courtney Faucett
By Lenae Moore
By Tiffany Stein
By Andy Webb
By Catherine Boyle
By Catherine & Elizabeth Downing
By Gerald Ridgway
By Jill Hoenig
By Sunitha John
By Tarrin Henry
By RozeLee Rugh
By Beverly Hogan
By Kendra Cordero
By Lisa Gajewski
By Bonnie Goree
By Young-Sam Won
By Chris Beach
By Tom Rugh
By Nick Vuicich
By Andy Franks
By Lead Team
By Jason Roszhart
By Harvard Medical School
By Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC
By Sherene Joseph
By Earl Davidson
By Rebecca Perry
By Joe Padilla
By Christian Melendez
By Bruce Riley
By Isaac Harris
By Amy Leadabrand
By Ben Haile
By Shaun Robinson
By Natalie Franks
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith

Yesterday, I was driving at sunset with my second-grade daughter in the backseat. She was reading aloud from a chapter book and came across the word horizon. What’s a horizon?

“That’s the horizon,” I said, pointing. “That place where the trees touch the sun, where you can’t see anything beyond it.”

“Can we go there?” Maddie asked.

I thought about this. Yes, we could go to those particular trees cutting out black silhouettes from the orange sun. We could fly like birds and land in those particular branches. But once we land — look! Another horizon in view! There is no catching the sun.  

I can see my future out there. Can’t you? Dusk-beautiful, just sinking behind the tree line. And I’m chasing it, longing forward, yearning ahead with every breath towards it, even just to get to those trees in the foreground. If I could just…

…Get my kids through the spring semester.

…Get that assignment in the bag, the one I’ve been prepping for.

…Get over my illness.

 If I could just get a little closer to the sun, step-by-step, today...

Then what happens? When I reach the trees?

I remember one of my first lucid experiences of the Present Tense. I must have been about ten. My friend Amber had invited me to her grandmother’s house. It was small, modest, and neat; I can see the spindled legs of the Jenny Lind bed in a guest room under a grey braided rug. We had fried chicken at the kitchen table, then ran out onto the back porch under a high-noon sun and a blue sky and bounded towards the trampoline. I still had a chicken leg in my right hand as I jumped. Up and down, up and down. This is…this…

It was the first time I was aware of my own happiness.

No, no, happiness isn’t quite the word, is it? It was the first time I was aware of my body and of being inside it — the warmth on my skin, the crunch of the chicken bursting into flavor under my tongue, the lightness of everything — even all the planets and stars — as I hung suspended in air, a feather girl. A sparrow.

The moment was a table spread for me. A mansion built for me. It was a long calm, full-to-bursting. And yet ever since, for some reason I’m trying to understand and even daring to justify, most of my life has been spent pushing aside that immediacy.

There’s a place in Scripture where Jesus tells his followers to “remain” in him. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you,” he says. (John 15:4). Because, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

Can’t live. Can’t move. Can’t be.   

The greek word for remain is menō, which implies, among other things: to tarry — a great old-fashioned word people would use when they wanted to TARRY ON THE VERANDA, and other luscious, 19th-century past times.

As a kid, I remember old people saying things like, “If the Lord tarries, I will live to see my grandchildren graduate high school.” They were talking about His second coming, and how he might decide to run late, biding his time up in the heavenly places.  But it was his first coming, really, where Jesus started tarrying. Before he did all his work of dying, rising, ascending, Jesus asked his people to walk with him, follow him, dwell with him. Like lovers lingering on a bridge.

Who has time for that?

Who doesn’t have time for that?

If both things are true about God — That He Is, and that He Is Love — then now is the only possible time to love and be loved. And we have eons of Now. You don’t have to wait for now, don’t have to strain your eyes to see it, or press forward against the wind to arrive at its door. Now is not a horizon, but a home.

Am I willing to be belligerently present tense? For me, it requires a grouchy, hot-headed insistence on living my life with immediacy. I reject — fist-to-table! — the next horizon, even if it’s just the promise of lunch or the prospect of my hot bath after dinner. That will be now soon enough, and I will be out of practice to enjoy it if I don’t insist on tarrying here. With Jesus. We don’t have to catch the sun when the son is now. 

Now is the lunch line. Now is the hangnail. Now is the email chain and the laundry folded and the flickering fire. Now is the child, the dog, the cup, and the song stuck in my head.

Love is now or never.

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