Charles F. Kettering said, “We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t agree with that statement. Yes we can be concerned about the future, but it is far more important to really live this one moment now, because in an instant it will be gone.
In the past, I invested so much time and energy being concerned about the future: business ventures, planning work, making money, and other future oriented things. I missed many “now” moments. More importantly, I missed the joy of deep connection and relationship-building that can only happen in the “now” moments. I missed far too many “now” special moments with family – the very foundation that can provide the greatest stability, security, and great feelings of anything on this planet.
But not anymore. I’m learning, and I trust my story will inspire you to savour the now moments with family.
Recently, my parents, Neil and Elizabeth Ohler, came for a visit. It was a very special occasion because we celebrated Dad’s 84 birthday. Dad is not ready to kick the bucket or anything like that. He (and Mom) are healthy, fit, and very mobile. And wise!!
Typically, they don’t stick around long unless we have something purposeful for them to do. I had that part under control – enough to keep them here for five days.
One of the projects was to replace the tracks and rollers (the running gear) on an old D4 Caterpillar crawler. We had hoped to get this done for several years, but the timing just hadn’t worked – until now.
This Cat was Dad’s pride and joy. He purchased it in early 50’s as a farm tractor – his first tractor when he started farming with Grandpa Ohler at Stavely, in southern Alberta. This endeared machine had tilled and planted thousands and thousands of acres over the years, besides its role as corral cleaner, excavator, and tow unit for the neighbours’ rubber-tired tractors that were stuck in the mud. When I started farming with Dad many years ago, I rode the “ol’ girl” to plant several crops too. And I invested many hours on her in the feedlot raising sh… – I mean, cleaning corrals.
When Carol and I moved to Sangudo, Dad gave the Cat to me, and it has done a ton of work in our neighbourhood. There is an emotional attachment to this piece of iron. But because of the condition of the running gear, I hadn’t used it at all for at least 5 years.
So the first challenge was simply to start the engine, or in this case the engines. The larger diesel engine is started by a smaller gasoline engine, the “pup motor.” The fuel tanks needed to be drained of the old rotten fuel, new fuel added, all points of lubrication checked and re-lubed.
We were a bit anticipatory about this process, so when the pup engine fired and then started, Dad’s face lighted. He grabbed the clutches and put the bigger engine into start position. After half a dozen puffs of black smoke, the engine fired and was soon purring (as a Cat should). Dad chuckled and gleamed – something special coming from his very core. It was if he had been re-connected with a dear friend he hadn’t seen for years.
Over the next couple days, we worked together, laughed together, and solved challenges together. And we took special time for meals and morning and afternoon coffee breaks with Mom, where we told stories, shared ideas, pondered life, shared love, and savoured our time together.
These are the special “now” moments that can be created and enjoyed. And now they are fond memories of the past – memories that help me remember and celebrate what this life is all about.
But my relationship with Mom and Dad was not always like this. It was very strained for a while when we were in business together. I am so grateful that I was able to learn some lessons about relationships, get out of my ego, eliminate my victim mentality and my need to be right, and work with Mom and Dad to rebuild and expand the love that exists between us. And I appreciate that it continues to grow daily.
I don’t know what your situation is like with your parents, children, or siblings.
What I do know is that now is the best time to expand love and make wonderful memories to carry forward into the future.
If you have great relationships with your family members, I commend you. I invite you to do something right now to grow these relationships even more. All it takes is a heart-felt phone call, an email, a visit, or a hand-written note in the mail. I invite you to really notice how you feel as you are doing your task.
If your relationships with your family members are strained or depleted, now is the time to set aside past grudges, judgements and resentments. Now is the best time to heal and love. And nobody can do it but you. Now is the time to begin building memories to cherish for the rest of your life.
Thinking back about Kettering’s quotation at the start. Maybe I do agree with it. Yes, I am concerned about the future. I’m concerned because I want to have family stories and memories to share, stories that will guide me and support me to live longer, smile broader, and love harder for every “now” moment that comes along. I’m going to keep creating valuable family “now” moments.
What are you going to do, now?