Have a great moment!

Bob Hatcher

What do you say as you leave someone after church, as you leave a Rotary meeting or at Starbucks when you are saying goodbye to the nice person who has given you your cup of coffee?

Often brief encounters end with the words “Have a great day” or “Have a nice day” or “Have a good one.” There are countless other possibilities, of course, but my sister heard a new one recently. Peggy Stevens does her morning meditation or quiet time with amazing regularity.  When she is at home on Lake Keowee in Salem, South Carolina, she does it in a special place in her house.

When she visits her wonderful daughter, son-in law and 3 grandchildren in Chapel Hill she has her quiet time in a coffee shop. As she was leaving the coffee shop one day this spring the last words of her waitress were new words to her. The very pleasant waitress said “Have a great moment!” It stopped Peggy in her tracks. 

Several days later Peggy and I were talking over the importance of living life one day at a time, five minutes at a time or even a single minute at time.  Then Peggy remembered the farewell of her waitress who had suggested an even shorter time frame, a moment!  “Have a great moment!” 

In dealing with stress, there are two things that are particularly important.  First, it is important to be aware that each of us is responsible for managing our own stress.  We cannot count on a spouse, our closest friend, our colleagues at work, our mom or our dad, or even our doctor or nurse practitioner to cause our stress to vanish.  Any of these potential sources of help may have some beneficial effect. Stress is increasingly being recognized as an important cause of disease. And in a hundred different ways, stress is up to us to confront as individuals. For the most part stress is an inside job.

Second, stress is a challenge that we can best approach in the present. Now is really the only time.  It is always NOW.  The current time is never yesterday.  Yesterday is past.  Yesterday is past history.  Yesterday is water over the dam.  Moreover, it is usually best not to overly focus on regrets about what we did yesterday or at any other time in the past. And similarly, tomorrow is never here. It is always today.

Consider the stress on a person addicted to alcohol. The desire to pick up a drink is the problem.  And it is extraordinarily stressful for many alcoholics to fight the temptation to have just one drink. 

So what is the advice given to a person fighting this urge to drink?  Well, it is to work on this problem one day at a time.  He or she is encouraged to get up now and head for an AA meeting. Or the person considering the temptation of having a drink is told to fight the temptation just for one minute – the next minute or to call up a sponsor or friend immediately.

Returning to the waitress who said “Have a nice moment” to my sister, a parallel thought for an alcoholic might be “the next moment will be a good one if I just don’t pick up a drink now.”

So you are reading this sentence somewhere, in some situation and at some specific time. My wish for you right now is simple:  “Have a great moment!”