Now: getting through the overwhelming parts of life

By Sally Tippett Rains

 In my book, Choose Happy Find Contentment in Any Situation. I listed 15 keys to a happy life. Today we concentrate on NOW: Living in the Now.

Time is marching by and as we go through this pandemic, are we just biding our time until it’s over? Are we wishing it was over and looking so forward to the future that we are forgetting the here and now? I have always said I never want to wish my time away and it’s the same even now—although it’s getting tougher as the pandemic keeps going.

The only way we are going to make it through the tough times we are facing—no matter what they are – is to say to ourselves, “today is the day,”  “now is the important time.” When you are wishing your days away, you may be wasting this precious gift you have: NOW. Today.

So things are different, but we can still do things. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed, but author Anne Lamott has talked about how to get through times like this by how she came up with the name of her book, Bird by Bird. Hearing this story can help ground you if you are overwhelmed by something.

She said when she was a child, her brother had to write a paper about birds and had put it off. He was getting nervous and feeling overwhelmed the night before it was due. He was fretting about tomorrow when the project was due.

Are you fretting about something? Waiting on medical tests, how you will pay your rent, who will win the elections, feeling sad because you miss someone… we are all worrying about something at some time or another. But if we could just break it down and be thankful for what we have right now, we will have peace. We can even have hope.

Lamott’s brother couldn’t figure out how he was going to get that whole project with all those birds done in one night. We’ve all been there and it doesn’t help to beat ourselves up things we coulda, mighta, woulda, shoulda done. We have to figure out how to help ourselves move forward. Their father came in and put his hand on his son’s shoulder and said, “take it bird by bird, buddy. Bird by bird. Start with one bird and finish that one and then go on to the next one.”

You may feel you have so much to do, or so much going on in your life right now; but break it down—bird by bird—or item by item. If you have to write it down, look at your list and determine which is most important.

As I wrote this, I got a call that someone I care about had passed away earlier in the day – completely unexpectedly. I was so very happy that one day about a month ago we decided to drive to the small town that he and his wife lived in to see them. For some reason we had the idea to go “now” and we just went. It was a short visit but they mean everything to us– and as it turned out it was a blessing to spend time with them.

As I said earlier, time is moving on, and there are scary things ahead, and maybe even right now but we have to break it down to this moment and appreciate any good we can find.

We can’t all do everything, so we do the best we can right now—and that is enough.

May you experience God’s peace that passes understanding as you go through your life trying to choose happy.


“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” — Stephen King

“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.” — Lee Iacocca

Bible Verses:

Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do. – Proverbs 6:4

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.  — 3 John 1:2

One Last Thought

Look at the pretty palm tree at the top of this article. I’ll bet you thought it was from Florida or some exotic, vacation place. No, it was taken in a backyard in a home in St. Louis, Missouri. We can find happiness in our own back yard if we focus on what is important. We are here now, so let’s make the best of it, whatever is happening.

You may wish you were in Florida (or somewhere else) but right NOW you are where you are, so concentrate on the best parts and use your imagination. You never know where you will go in your mind. Have a happy trip.

Sally Tippett Rains is a motivational speaker, inspirational writer and author of 13 books, including Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Any Situation. She is the volunteer Executive Director of Rainbows for Kids and content manager for