Right Now

Its fall and its football season, well at least a modified version. Certain songs have stronger connections for me in the fall. One of them is Right Now by Van Halen. We used it as a pregame song to create a level of inspiration. The song is a message about living in the moment. Sammy Hagar says they were the best lyrics he ever wrote for Van Halen.

“Right now” emphasizes the present moment. Using just the word “now” may imply a little less emphasis on this exact moment. “Right now” is more prevalent in American English than in British. It follows our propensity to use two words for emphasis when one will do, like “next up” rather than “next.”

The right now is a magical place full of great possibilities. We can do literally anything right now. In the past, the moment is over. In the future, we could do those things. Leaning Forward in the Foxhole is being prepared for action right now. Right now is the oldest we’ve ever been and the youngest we’ll ever be. Living in the present is empowering. Life may end one day; every other day it doesn’t. The spreading epidemic has made everyone all too aware of how fragile ordinary life can be.

We cannot solve tomorrow’s problems if we don’t solve todays! Max Lucado said, “Meet today’s problems with today’s strength. Don’t start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow’s strength yet. You simply have enough for today.” We live in a downstream world with a bias for downstream action. We spend most of our time reacting to problems downstream rather than dealing with the source of the problem that is found upstream. Solving today’s problems will have a downstream effect on tomorrow’s problems. First responders focus on the problems that must be solved at that moment. It is a natural way to go about their job; prioritize what is urgent, solve one problem, then move on to the next.

Problems that took generations to create will not be solved instantly, but we need to begin with immediate actions. Once we’ve started a project or process, we typically stay with it until completion. Get started right now; action can eliminate anxiety and create energy. There is a saying that “Groundbreaking requires TNT” where TNT means: Today! Not Tomorrow!

Today is the opportunity to make our tomorrow better. We can’t have a tree to sit under tomorrow if it isn’t planted today. “Light tomorrow with today!” is a quote from Elizabeth Barrett Browning. In my prior job I was selling a managed service around collecting data. Data that would be especially useful when looking at trends and outcomes based on certain parameters. Part of my sales pitch to close a deal was convincing the client they needed to start collecting that data today, so that in three years there was something to look back on and see trends.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.” I want to qualify that quote a bit and note that we don’t put off until tomorrow what we should do today. There are a multitude of things we can do today, but which things are priorities that we should not delay and get them done right now?

These excerpts from the commencement address given by Steve Jobs in June of 2005 to Stanford University place a unique emphasis on right now:

  • “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right. It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Henri Nouwen was an internationally renowned priest, respected professor, and author who wrote 39 books on the spiritual life. He wrote about “oughts” and “ifs” (guilt and anxiety) as our greatest enemies. They pull us backward into the unalterable past or forward into the unpredictable future. Real life takes place in the here and the now. Our God is a God of the present. We need to be present in the moment as He reveals himself to us where we are most fully present.

Matthew 6:34, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” We are being instructed to live each day to its fullest because one never knows what will happen tomorrow. In fact, God has not yet granted that extra day. Each individual day can be hard enough to get through, much less worry about those coming. So, if we defer worry to tomorrow, we will never have to worry today.

“Right now” is relevant to the eternal destinies we all face. What we do today, counts – forever.


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