On Being Present
Every day I think about the future. What life will be like “someday.” My thoughts drift down the stream of my consciousness (or subconsciousness) to far off lands and places. To the “could-be’s” and “should-be’s” of life.
For me, I love landscapes. Specifically mountains and greenery. My wife, Tessa, however, LOVES the beach. We used to live in Houston, TX...or as it’s lovingly known as (sometimes) “Sweatville.” It’s just uber humid and hot the majority of the year. Super gross. And to top it off, Tess would STILL want to go to the beach for vacation! Heck nah. I’m not about to go from one hot place to another hot place just because the new hot place looks prettier and has sand. No thanks.
So we compromised.
We now live in the mountains of Colorado, so Tessa gets her way for vacation. Since I get to stare at the landscape I love all day every day (and stare I must), I don’t put up a fight when she wants to go to the beach. Seems fair.
Back to my story of drifted thoughts...
Why is it that we’re constantly thinking about the future? About the somedays that aren’t even here yet?
We are infatuated with changing everything we can in our culture. We love to figure out how to whiten, heighten, brighten, lighten and tighten anything we can. (Like that phrase? Got it from my uncle. Catchy, right?!)
Now, don’t get me wrong...I am ALL FOR improvement. I want to improve as much as I can. But how much thinking about the future and improving ourselves “out there” is hindering our connection and presence with those we love today? Right now? In this very moment?
Because of our work schedules, Tessa and I are a bit flexible when it comes to working and watching our 15-month old daughter. When Tessa works, I babysit (is it babysitting if it’s for your own kids?), and then I carve out hours to get my work done while Tessa babysits.
Sometimes, while I’m babysitting, I get on my laptop to knock out some work or read some articles that peaked my interest while browsing Twitter earlier that day. But the last couple of days, that’s been harder to do. Not because I’m distracted or anything, but because there are so many times that Journey (my daughter) will do something and look back at me for approval or recognition.
And I do NOT want to teach my daughter that my screens are more important than her.
These moments I have with her now are so incredibly precious. And fleeting.
Time slows down for no man...no matter how hard we’d like it to.
As I watch my daughter play with her toys, or “read” her books (she LOVES books...and I love that about her), I’m in such incredible awe.
...Awe for the wonder that is the human creation
...Awe for a God that gives good gifts to his kids.
...Awe that I get to parent this tiny human.
So many things to be in awe about...
So...I’ve found myself closing the laptop and giving her my full attention as much as possible.
If work can wait...it waits. Heck, we’ll be working in some form for the rest of our lives. But our children won’t always be 15 months and think you’re the most incredible person they’ve ever met. They won’t always want to run around the house and have you chase them. They won’t always have to come to you to get a snack (although I’m kind of looking forward to that day...).
All I’m saying is...
Don’t let future worries rob you of present gifts.
The future will come and go. Worries will come and go. But the present is what is here, now.
In this moment, choose to be present. Connect with those around you. Meet someone new. Call an old friend. Play with your daughter.
I promise you, you won’t regret it.