It's Sunday morning, early, and a heavy roll of greyish paper encased in sticky pink plastic thuds onto our driveway. Removing the plastic wrap takes patience, dexterity, strength, sharp objects, and a willingness to risk deep lacerations to the hands and fingers.
The newspaper emerges, bent into tight curves which make it nearly unreadable. A little unfolding, a little bending back into shape, and there it is: the Sunday edition of The Age.
My husband heads straight for the sports section. I burrow deeper into the pile of papers. "Why do they print so many sections? Who wants to read all this stuff anyway? Where's my magazine? I think they've LEFT OUT MY MAGAZINE! Oh, here it is."
Who needs the news when you've got Sunday Life? Yes, I know I'm impossibly girly, but I turn straight to Mia Freedman's column, with an occasional brief detour to glance at the headlines, and feel myself slipping into sweet Sunday relaxation as I read her first words.
I love Mia. She's witty, smart and vulnerable. Her observations about womanhood are astute and entertaining. She's a real mum, complete with muffin top and mistakes.
Last Sunday, she helped me see something I hadn't seen before: that women find it much harder than men to live in the present. We regard the past with a mixture of guilt and nostalgia (scrapbooking, anyone?). We plan a hundred versions of the future down to every last detail, and worry about every possibility ("What if ..?"). You can read Mia's observations here.
I'm not sure what true assurance you can have about the past or future if you're not a Christian. There's still good common sense in not worrying - Jesus says, "do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself" - but this isn't worth much without his promise that "your heavenly Father knows" what you need (Matt 6:25-34). A vague New Age serenity about the present moment has no solid basis in reality: there really are things to regret and fear.
But we know that Jesus has died for us, and God has forgiven all our past mistakes (1 Jn 1:9f). He lovingly plans our lives, past, present and future (Ps 139:16). He calls us to trust and obey him in the present moment, not in a hundred hypothetical future moments, and gives us exactly as much grace as we need - right now (1 Pet 1:3).
If Mia is right, this is a message that women particularly need to hear.