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My husband just returned from several weeks of traveling overseas for business. It was sometimes a challenge to connect by computer video call or telephone due to the time differences. But we managed to succeed. The brief video calls we shared, so filled with laughter and love, will always be part of my memory. I discovered that, even during bouts of loneliness, I could function and even be happy in this temporary single life.

The thing is, you can’t catch up on the time apart. It’s in the past…spent…gone. What you CAN do is appreciate every moment in the NOW…the present and active experience in which you find yourself.

So I took the opportunity to visit my son and his family in another state – road trip – bringing with me my daughter and her children. The family gathering of siblings and grandchildren, dogs and air mattresses, preparing evening meals and impromptu fun activities with the kids, brought with the chaos a memory of my own childhood and a large family. I felt comfortable in the chaos and activity of multiple lives all buzzing around in one house. However, we all agreed and appreciated that this was only a temporary living arrangement; not one that we wanted to reinstate.

The day before my husband’s return home I had the pleasure of visiting with two of my dear and long-time friends, spending several hours with each of them in turn. One travels often for business; the other will soon be moving to another state. It wasn’t that we needed to catch up on each other’s lives or relive days gone by; it was more a time to go deeper into life’s meanings, challenges, and sharing solutions to problems that we’d discovered or found helpful. Spending time together like this is a temporary experience to be savored in the present moment.

All life is temporary. Each experience…idea…job…home…relationship…your body… season…a moment of connection…is either evolving into something deeper or transitioning, coming and going in cycles through a lifetime. Even our memories of the experiences are temporary and often uncertain. The other person may not get that same sentiment from the same physical experience. Yet, at the soul level, somewhere deep within each of us, we have connected in consciousness, in that moment.

My memory is important only to me; yours to you…yet we often want to hold on and relive it in our minds or try to recapture or re-enact the experience. It’s never the same, not really. Time has passed; it’s over. Living in the past robs us of real present-moment experiences or appreciating a significant and meaningful future.

This NOW, this temporary moment, this present experience is where our attention is needed. It’s all we have. It’s where we create the life we live. If we can pay attention, be mindful, of what is before us, we will live with such fullness that loneliness or separation will find no room in our heart or mind. Instead, we will be filled with the contentment of a lifetime of joyful experiences; each one fully appreciated, fully lived, and fully loved.