‘Your life is happening now, right in front of you,’ Christopher’s wife Evelyn tells him. But the grown up and married Christopher Robin is distracted doing what all the rest of us do so often, setting aside the present moment in order to somehow keep the rest of life on track. Sadly missing the life that is found with those he loves, in the present moment.
When Pooh appears to pull Christopher back to life in the Hundred Acre Wood, he thinks it’s stress that must be causing him to imagine things, Pooh replies with the memorable line, ‘It’s not stress – it’s Pooh!’ Christopher needs to be dragged back to his childhood days, to appreciate something more than the grind of work and survival. And so he finds himself chasing around with Pooh and Tigger and Roo and the rest of the gang. John Lennon once wrote in his song Beautiful Boy, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’ It may sound odd but that line throws me back to something one of the Psalm writers wrote, something along the lines of ‘Stop chasing your tail for a moment, and appreciate that God is here, present, with you in the now.’ (See Psalm 46 v 10) When Moses bumped into God and asked him his name, in a desert bush crackling with fire and life, God told him, ‘I Am.’ (See Exodus 3 v 14)
It’s easy to be deceived in this life. Later is better. Tomorrow we’ll stop. Achieving things is the goal. Getting things done is more important than stopping and listening for a few moments. Time is to be spent, not wasted. I get deceived by these things. I’m a do-er. I have to force myself to ease up and appreciate the now. A friend recently gave me the phrase, ‘God is always present. I am not.’ My mind is often on the next moment, the next day, the next week, the next month. When you go to the cinema to see one film, you are bombarded with trailers of a whole load of other movies which you should be watching instead. It’s hard to be in the present moment when advertising and various forms of social media grab us by the collar and tweak at our shirt tails, tugging us away from where we are and who we are with. Yet life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans. God is in the present. In the I Am. Christopher Robin does slow down, he does step out of the traffic of his busy life. He rediscovers the joys of his childhood and in doing so, the joys of wasting time with his own family. Being with them. Easy to do in a story. Harder in life. But Jesus loved stories and saw them as memorable devices to keep reminding us of what is important. To keep dragging us back to life. Perhaps when we slow down and experience something of the present moment we also experience something of God himself. I think this will always be a battle for me. To be still, and know… to be present. Now. I’ll leave you with a couple of lines form the cuddly, yellow, honey-loving bear himself. ‘People say nothing is impossible but I do nothing every day.’ ‘Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.’