What are you attending to today? Right now? Are you IN this present moment? Or will you miss it? Read on as Really Blog Manager, Carla Foote, directs our gaze to the immediate.
The Present Moment
By Carla Foote
I snapped a picture of the pink clouds. Then I walked a little farther along the road and stopped to snap again, and again. The colors kept changing, deepening, then all of sudden, it was over. The sunset splendor faded to light pink and gray. Then just gray. Then darkening dusk.
Watching a sunset is an awe-inspiring pleasure. I waffle between wanting to just stand and stare, to take it all in, and snapping pictures to attempt to capture the beauty. Even with so much picture snapping and sharing on social media, the picture is really nothing like the actual. Especially on a night where the color keeps changing and the show goes on longer than expected.
I live in Colorado and the mountains are to the west of my home. When there are clouds, we can have spectacular sunsets. In admiring the beauty, my eye overlooks the power lines and reality of city vistas and focuses on the transformation in the sky.
A sunset or a sunrise is a now moment. If I am working at my computer and see the light changing, I have to stop and look right away. Waiting five minutes can mean missing the whole show. Experiencing a sunset is being present for the moment.
While the hour of sunset and sunrise is predictable each day - the color and timing of a sunrise or a sunset can vary depending on the location of clouds, humidity, even smoke and smog in the air. Sunsets are present moments; they are easy to miss.
Actually, most of life is filled with "present moment" experiences, but we are not as acutely aware of them as we are of the sunsets. Sometimes it is hard to see and appreciate the present moment.
When a friend died unexpectedly, I thought back to the last moment we were together - wanting to capture the conversation, the hug, the love, the presence of the person. But that moment passed, unnoticed. It is uniquely marked now because it cannot be recreated again and again - like a sunset, which comes each day (although the beautiful ones don't happen quite that often). We never know when the last of something is experienced, until it is already past. A sense of urgency can spur us on to be present for as many moments as possible with people we love.
Children also illustrate the present moment, with a conversation, a thought, an expression, a giggle, or an action that will not be repeated. Certainly there will always be other conversations, thoughts, expressions, giggles or actions. Until there are not. The present moment.
God's Spirit reveals present moments to us as well. Prompting us to serve someone in need, or to speak a kind word to someone in distress. His Spirit responds to the present moment of people around us. It's so easy to ignore the prompting, to close my ears. I may even acknowledge the prompt, but then talk myself out of acting in the present moment. I can respond tomorrow. I'll text that new person at church for a coffee date tomorrow. Except that right now was the moment the Spirit prepared and prompted. So I miss it. Because I am not present to the prompting. The present moment of God's Spirit.
While it can sound like a cheesy sentiment for a plaque or a needlepoint, today is really the only moment we have. This present moment. We can be awake and aware and attentive to the moment, or we can miss it forever.
Carla Foote is the Really blog manager and also writes and edits for other clients through her freelance business, www.fineprintedit.com. She enjoys the variety of freelance. On any given day she might be writing an infographic, conducting a magazine interview, editing a book, posting a blog, keeping an eye out for the sunset, or all of the above.