Be Here Now
As a college junior and senior I taught a student success seminar for at-risk freshmen. I taught freshmen who weren't expected to succeed in college how to beat the odds and succeed. I earned three college degrees, but teaching that class taught me more than any of the classes I took for my degrees. There was one lesson in particular that literally changed my life. The lesson was called Be Here Now.
The idea of Be Here Now was that you should focus on whatever it was you were doing at that exact moment. It didn't mean you should just live for today and forget about tomorrow. Be Here Now was all about channeling your energy so you could get the most out of the present. Now I would call this mindfulness, but I hadn't heard that term at the time.
As a junior in college I will admit that I didn't really appreciate what Be Here Now meant. The future was before me and I didn't have time to enjoy the moment.
Years later I was rocking my new baby girl and feeling so scared about her future. She was born premature, she wouldn't nurse and she was losing a lot of weight. It was the middle of the night, and I felt so helpless, and possibly for the first time in my life I felt completely unable to control the outcome of the situation. As I held her close and rocked back and forth, I fretted about whether or not the doctor was going to make us put her back in the hospital. I wondered if we would we have to draw more blood from her tiny veins. I feared she would never nurse. I worried there was something seriously wrong with her.
At some point that night it struck me that nothing I did at that moment would fix the situation, and I had just spent an hour with my daughter, but I had not really been with her. At that moment I remembered Be Here Now. I vowed to stop worrying and instead to really savor that moment.
Instead of worrying about how much weight she was losing I let myself feel her tiny body nestled against me. I smelled the sweet baby lavender smell. I stroked the velvety softness of her head. I listened to her labored breath and tried to match the rhythm of my breathing with hers. I thanked God for that specific moment in time, and I promised myself I would not spend so much time worrying and planning for the future that I would miss these moments.
I haven't always kept that promise. But, I have gotten much better at stopping myself when my mind starts to wander and worry or when I start trying to do too much multitasking.
We can't always Be Here Now, but I challenge you to stop yourself every so often and see if you are really enjoying the gift of this moment that God has given you.
God our Creator, Quiet my mind and let me feel this moment. Let me notice the sights, the sounds, the smells and the feel of all that is around me. Let me focus on the now so that I can fully experience it. Amen.
Lori Schreiber is the Saint Andrew Pastoral Partner Chair. Lori, her husband, Bill Bowsher, and their daughters, Hana and Aubree Bowsher, have been members of Saint Andrew for four years. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.