LIVING IN THE PRESENCE – Choosing to be Present
- On May 27, 2020
- 0 Comments
- 2020, guided, prayer, week, WoGP
As I drove past a church near my home, I read the message board on the lawn. “Fear of the future, regret about the past, rob us of the present.”
Thoughts of my parents came to my mind. They both grew up in England during the Depression, in homes where it was a struggle to pay the bills. There was never enough food. During World War II, my father went to college by day and manned an anti-aircraft gun at night. After graduation, he served in the Royal Navy. On an aircraft carrier in the North Sea, he prepared planes for bombing runs over Germany, and counted the planes, and the friends, who did not return.
My mother taught school by day and ran to the air raid shelter when the sirens blared at night. She emerged in the morning to assess how many buildings in her neighbourhood had been destroyed and how many lives had been lost.
Those difficult years shaped my parents to be anxious, distrustful, and unhappy. When I reflect on their 65 years together, I see many blessings, but they focus their attention on what is wrong, or what could go wrong. If I am not careful, I too can fall into the ‘glass half-empty’ mind set. But I have a choice. I can choose to be present, to pay attention to the ways in which God is at work in my life, at this time and in whatever place I happen to be.
“Knock and the door will be opened for you” reminds me of a painting which hangs in my church. Jesus is standing at the outer door of a house. There is no doorknob on the door. It must be opened from within. I must be open to receive God’s gifts each day. I wonder in what ways my parents’ lives would have been different, if they had been able to open themselves to God’s grace.
When I reflect on experiences in my own life, I see, in retrospect, God at work in many ways. The opportunities that ‘just happen’ to come along, the phone call from a friend at just the right moment, the message on a notice board that nudges me to think about my relationship with God.
The circumstances of my life can overwhelm me. The world news can devastate me. I can think of all sorts of things that I wish I had handled differently. But each morning I awake to the gift of a new day and the opportunity to begin again, to try to live in closer relationship with God.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.”*
For Reflection and Journaling:
- What fears and/or regrets interfere with my ability to be present to God at work in my life?
- How would my life be different, if I focussed on today?
Loving God, you continually try to get my attention.
You nudge, and stir, and call in unexpected ways and in unexpected places.
I am often oblivious to your Presence. Please help me to set aside the things that interfere,
so that I may be aware and open. Then, I pray, I will know that you are present in my life today. Amen.
* Attributed to a number of sources.
Material produced by Week of Guided Prayer Network, Hamilton Conference, United Church of Canada, 2011.