I always seem to be reading articles and see quotes about the importance of being present. This seems relevant to any moment of the day, whether I’m at yoga (yeah right, I honestly can never focus for more than 5 seconds in yoga, but it’s a nice thought) or eating something delicious, or watching my favorite show, or painting my nails.
However, the advice to be present seems most important when I’m spending time with other people.
Usually I find it
fairly easy to be present. I’m fascinated by people, which is a nicer way to say I’m extremely nosy. I love individuals and their stories and my brain remembers facts and details that are people-related much better than any other things I hear throughout my days.
When I’m around people I don’t see often, I’m all there. My phone is on silent. My eyes are locked in, there is nowhere else I’d rather be and nothing else I’d rather be listening to. But (and you knew there’d be a ‘but’, right?) I’m not always present with the people I see all of the time.
And by ‘people I see all of the time’ I mean Tim and Clara. Sometimes I forget that my time with them is a gift from God.
I mean, Tim is my perfect match (I do need to remind myself of this on bad days, but I know it’s true) and Clara is my little girl, who makes even the most mundane moments special. But even though I love them, I take time with my little family for granted, because I know I’ll always have more time with them tomorrow (and the next day, and the next) and there always seems to be something vitally important on my to-do list.
Here’s the thing, though: Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
Not to sound morbid or anything, but time is always precious because at least in the moment, we know we have it.
One of my good friends is navigating her way through the death of her precious (newborn) son, and my brain can’t even imagine the pain of being a mom without my baby in my arms. Every once in a while I see articles and news reports about young adults dying, and I realize that my time with Tim is a blessing, because not everyone gets to cuddle up with their spouse at night.
I know I can’t consciously appreciate (even my most loved) people every second of every day. Some days I complain because I’m tired. Some hours Tim annoys the crap out of me. Some nights I hope Clara will just stop crying so I don’t need to go into her room and see what she needs. Sometimes I simply do not want to be around anyone.
But even if I’m not feeling the most positive-feelings, I want to be 100% there in the moments I do spend with them. I don’t want Clara to think my cell phone is an appendage of my body. I don’t want Tim to think I’m not listening to him talk about his day. I want to really treasure the sleepless nights and messy days for what they are. I’m blessed to be able to experience being a wife and mother, because those are roles I’ve wanted since I was a little girl and God has graciously granted them to me.
It’s not that I think I need to change much about what I’ve been doing and how I’ve been interacting on a daily basis, it’s that I’m becoming aware that I desire to strive to be truly thankful for each and every moment, no matter how imperfect and no matter how impatient my brain is, wanting to skip on to the next task on hand. I want to remain cognizant that time and moments are treasures in themselves.
Even if I do get to see Tim and Clara day after day, they are changing and I am changing. Certain phases of our lives are passing by. My baby isn’t a newborn anymore. Soon she’ll be walking around and she’ll never be in the infant stage again. Time has a way of pushing us forward, whether we’re ready or not, and I want to be able to look back and say ‘ah, I remember that, it was such a great time’ instead of having all of my memories blurred together by business and a lack of focus.
And I want Tim and Clara to look back and remember a constantly available, loving wife and mom who enjoyed living life by their sides.
I’m thankful that there are people out there who share their stories with me – and whether they realize it or not – encourage me to live my life deeper and more fully, with an emphasis on appreciation, gratitude, compassion, and love.