Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Being Present

Winter 2004

We cannot attain the presence of God. We are already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.” –Father Richard Rohr

I wasn’t sure I could take another day like this. The dread and unbearable loneliness I felt while in Tucson. I slumped on my sofa, discouraged and afraid, would my life ever feel the same? Would I ever get ‘me’ back? Did God even care? I laid my head back on the second hand, uncomfortable loveseat and tried to find some much needed relief. But like you know, it’s hard to find relief from yourself.

My eyes gazed up. Oblivious to my surroundings I begin to fantasize of the guy who would suddenly come into my world to rescue me from all of this—I desperately wanted to escape reality and think about what could be rather than what is.

I looked up and was jolted back to my reality. A quiet stillness and rest came over my soul just like that; I mean it, just like that, and I felt peace about where God had me! I saw; really saw what had been in front of me, literally over me, for months. There framed above me was some artwork by Bloom, three light yellow roses and in the cleft of the bouquet a small red flower.

Wait, let me back up a bit, this means nothing to you unless you know that the yellow rose is really special! Years ago I asked Jesus to give me something special to remind me of his presence, pursuit, and love. Something I could be looking for in my day. I realized how often I “miss” God’s presence because I’m lacking awareness. If he really is omnipresent and everywhere, I was missing him. Jesus constantly spoke to this truth about developing “eyes to see, and ears to hear” in the gospels, so I needed something special between the two of us to look for to help me develop these eyes. Enter the yellow rose. Throughout my days I tried to be more present to my environment, rather than always having my mind on to the next thing.

Obviously a lot of days I didn’t see much, being in the desert and all, but I was shocked at how many yellow roses popped up on television, magazines, doctors offices, Jesus’ reminder of love was everywhere! So that day with my weariness heavily lain on my rickety sofa, I looked up and saw my God; Father, Son, Holy Spirit holding me together by their union in the cleft of their love. I was not alone, they would see me through.

God’s presence can change our countenance just like that. I think Paul alludes to the secret of this peace, a quiet rest and assurance that overcomes us when we develop “eyes that see, and ears that hear” ‘I have learned to be content in all circumstances whether in plenty or in want…” (Find verse) But it takes some work to get in touch with His realm, verses the world we live in.

Practicing ‘presence’ requires us to be just that, present to our surroundings. Something easier said than done in second millennium American culture. We live for efficiency, getting it done. Work hard, play hard. More, more, more. Life is ‘out there’ not here. Gadgets and gizmos. IM and myspace. Quick quick quick. Less is definitely not consider more.

Most of us are living our lives like a hamster spinning franticly in a ball, clamoring to find “life” by going and going from thing to thing but never ever really “present” to what is already there.

I am that hamster, but I'm starting to change, will you let Him change you?

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