Courtesy of Wedding Window

Friday, December 30, 2016


For the past two days, I've been consumed by the phrase "being present".  Being present... what does that really mean?  Don't I live in the present every day?

For starters, I've never had a problem going to sleep.  Many of my friends have struggled with that.  I know people that lie awake at night, dwelling on troubles, issues, problems, even just stupid stuff.  When my ex left, for three nights I laid awake, unable to sleep. At all.  I wondered what would happen to me and the kids.  Where would we go?  What would we do?  Would we survive this loss? On the fourth night, as I lay there worrying, God spoke to me.  It was so clear in my mind.  I felt like He said, "If you got up right this minute, could you fix anything?  At the present time, is there anything at all that you could do, right now, in the middle of the night?"  And honestly, the answer was "No".  There truly wasn't anything I could do right then.  And I felt a calmness, and a peace come over me, and I closed my eyes and went to sleep. That was the last night that I remember having trouble sleeping.

Many times since then, as I've lain down to sleep, I've had a worry or two creep into my thoughts.  And immediately, I will ask myself, "If I get up right now, is there anything at all I can do about this situation?"  Sometimes, the answer is "yes", like make a to-do list or something but almost always, the answer is "No". On the rare occasion that the answer happens to be "yes", I will get right up, do what I need to do, then lay back down and go right to sleep with peace of mind.  At those moments, I feel that I am truly "being present".  I deal with what I can, and then leave the rest for later.

As I've considered "being present" lately, I've come to realize that I am really only present while I'm working on a task, as I lay down to sleep, and in those first few precious moments when I first wake up in the mornings.  I've also come to realize how many times I am NOT truly present.  So many times as I'm chatting with someone, my mind is going in all different directions, sometimes even thinking of what I'm going to add to the conversation, or thinking of a story I'm going to tell.  I'm NOT truly present when I go out to eat with someone.  My phone sits on the table beside me.  Any time it lights up, either with a call, text message, IM or email, I look at it/answer it/deal with it, no matter who I'm with. Even though it only takes my attention for a second, I'm not truly present with my family member/friend/co-worker or whomever I'm eating with.  I'm NOT truly present when someone comes into my office because my mind is often on twenty different things at once.  How hard would it be for me to just really stop and listen to the person in my office?  I mean, really stop and listen... put them first. Be PRESENT.  Why can't I leave my phone in my purse while eating a meal with someone?  In an emergency, someone will call me.  I can miss a text or two.  After a friend's passing this year, I have really regretted not being more present when I was with her.

Even at this very moment I am struggling for presence.  I am writing/typing this blog post, listening/watching the tv, scanning the tabs at the top of my browser, noticing that I have 5 Facebook notifications, 4 Pinterest notifications and 3 unread emails, all the while wondering where Sophie is, how my friend's new cat is getting along with her dogs, what time I need to get up tomorrow,  how Wade's trip is going and what Sheridan is doing. I mean, I'm present, but not really present.

My 2017 resolution is this:  to try harder to be present.  For my family.  For my friends.  For my co-workers.  I think it will make me a better person all the way around.  I think I will be a better listener, a better communicator, a better friend. I think I will remember things better, because I've paid more attention when they were happening.  I think I will be more productive.  I honestly think that I will savor the moments and that 2017 will not rush by near as fast as 2016 did. As I get older, I have more of a desire for time to slow down.  Maybe time is not the problem... maybe it's me.  Maybe it's this busy world we live in...

I'm up for the challenge.  And I challenge each one of you to "be present" in 2017.

Matthew 6:34 says: Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

Let's do this... 2017, Here I come!