- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By Jean Pelletier
Special to the Beacon
Occasionally in Fran’s columns, she refers to “Hubby Dear” as either making a suggestion or crossing over the boarders of her guarded domain. To her faithful readers, I must confess that at the present moment, the end of the pen is in hubby’s hands. She might not rejoice at that.
She is still very much in a recovering mode at the Medical University Hospital in Charleston, S.C., where she has been since Feb. 26. As of November, she was convinced that “riding the roller coaster of life is exhilarating, exhausting and exasperating,” as one of her recent columns stated.
Although I would never be capable of filling her shoes, I would like at least to step into them for a brief moment to share with you, her readers, one thing that I have profoundly relearned in the past several weeks at her ICU bedside.
That one “thing” is something she has spoken about in more than one of her columns. It is something that takes us all so long to believe and longer yet to live. It is a truism of all solid spirituality. It is a reality that permeates our Scriptures. It is something that has made many modern psychologists and philosophers positively popular and prosperous–to cite but one, Eckhart Tolle.
It is something that we all know in our head but seldom live in our daily life. It is the urgent need, and extraordinary grace, of living in the present moment. I, for one, have desperately attempted not to get out of that present now. But I humbly acknowledge that staying glued in the moment is an incredibly difficult task.
My tendency, as I suspect is also yours, is to ponder the future or revisit the past. What a glorious waste of time. What a predictable way to walk into worry. The past and the future are in reality out of “time.” The future can completely evade us. We may not have a tomorrow, let alone the next minute. The past can never be relived. It’s gone, over and done with. Yet most of us spend much of our waking hours in these two time zones that are either over or may never arrive.
In the realm of spiritual reading, a man named Brother Lawrence wrote a splendid little gem about the “sacrament of the present moment.” If we are to find God in our everyday experiences, if we are to feel those epiphanies where God breaks into our lives, we have to be mindful of the nowness of living.
God’s presence and power are operative when we’re washing the dishes, cleaning the house, watering the plants, sitting with a friend, petting a cat. It’s so hard to just do one thing at a time with the totality of attentiveness. So few of us are truly aware, living in the now with every fiber of our being. While conversing with someone, we prepare our next sentence. We so seldom are “all there.”
While attending my Fran, I knew with certainly that God was telling me to be present to the present that was God’s gift. That was where God’s presence was. To leave that present moment was in reality to leave the one I love. I needed to give up all stinking thinking that would park me in the past or hurl me in a future that might never come.
Many years ago, I glued to my bathroom mirror a Sanskrit proverb that I frequently review. It speaks of the “day,” but we can also understand the word “day” as the “present moment.”
“Look to this day. For it is life, the very life of life. In its brief course lies all the realities and verities of existence: the bliss of growth, the splendor of action, the glory of power. For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day.”
Eckhart Tolle in his best seller, “The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment,” said the same thing. “The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all that ever is.” [p.88]
As I rode that roller coaster ride with Fran, a ride which still goes on, and is the story of each of us as the world turns relearned the need to stay in the precious present moment.
My prayer for Fran’s readers is each of you may have a “living in the present moment experience” during your Lenten journey. For this purpose, I chose a few chapters of one of Fran’s books for these future columns as she continues her present moments of recovering.