Monday, August 15, 2011

Be Present

"Today is a gift that is why it is called a present.  Cherish it."

Saw that once on a poster and laughed out loud.  What cheeseball psychobabble.  Seriously, today is a gift?  (I think on that particular day I was unemployed, broke and more than a little bitter.)

My counselor has been working with me on being 'in the present'.  To recognize what I am thinking and feeling at any given moment so I can learn how to understand and navigate my life in a far more healthful way. 

As I drove home from the airport yesterday, I finally understood what it meant to be in the present.  I was returning from "The Ragged Edge" writing conference (a blog on that glorious encounter later).  In the privacy of my car I was sobbing.  My heart was in a vise grip and my breath seemed to come from a very narrow place in my chest.

How was I going to pay this bill or that bill?  How was I going to have a career, a marriage, a ministry AND write?  How was I going to care for and nurture this infant artist and writer I just gave birth to at the conference?  How was I going to survive when I could count on 3 fingers the creative and artistic people I knew (and could stand)? How? When? Where? Why?  Add this to my general pissed-offness at God that I was in this dry place AGAIN.

Somewhere between stress eating a ham and cheese pretzel sammich and reaching home I discovered a truth.  I only have control of and participation in the present. 

My past is past.  I own it.  I also possess every single piece of wisdom gained from walking every solitary, broken glass covered step.  I can't change it.  God can't either. (Try that little theological nugget on for size.)

My future isn't up to me.  I can't choose who will love me or who will hate me.  I can't make a job happen or money appear in my wallet.  I can't build my dream home or spit out a published novel (or trilogy or two).  By worrying I can't make a single blade of grass grow.

What I can do is decide that at this moment, in this minute, how I will feel and what I will think.  I can decide to express my fears at the top of my lungs to a God who feels as far as the east from the west.  I can then decide to remember that He draws near to the broken hearted.   He also perfects that which concerns me.  And baby, I gotta load of concerns.   I could also put on an 80's pop tune, sing at the top of my lungs and 'drance' (dance + drive)-which is exactly what I did.

Today I practiced being in the present.  When I was working I was at the laptop, with planner and pen ready.  When I was with the kids I left my phone on the counter, looked them in the eye and played 'rain golf'.  When I was writing this blog I let my husband put the kids to bed.  I was present and fully accounted for.

Am I less stressed?  Most certainly.  Have the answers, provision and opportunities suddenly burst forth with an orchestral musical flourish? Um, no. 

I am content to merely hold my present.  And, for the first time in a long, long time I am looking forward to opening my new present tomorrow.


  1. Awww, Kim, you are a gift in yourself in the present for us!...Does that make sense? I'm not sure, but YOU DO make sense...thank you for this terrific blog! Great food for thought...

  2. I LOVE your final sentence!!

    I completely know how hard it is to fit writing into real if you need to talk/vent/ etc., you know how to reach me! It's not easy, but it is possible...especially when your husband is supportive of your dreams, and I'm fairly certain that your is. Set aside a specific time each week to be writing time. That is a start. Don't let anything get in its way. Don't volunteer at that time. Don't have coffee with a friend. Don't do the dishes. Now, somtimes - like the Christmas season, things do get in the way and have to take precidence. But seriously. Make that time your own. it's precious.


Thank you for commenting on Memorable Mama. Remember keep it clean. Keep it Memorable. :)