Being Present

To live in the moment is great advice, but something I am usually forced to practice by adverse circumstances. In a crisis, all my unimportant stuff and everyday complaints finally disappear. Yesterday’s cares evaporate while tomorrow’s plans become elusive. Today is all that exists. Along with that awareness comes clarity of what to value and cherish.

This pandemic has been a crisis for everyone. Initial griping over cancelled hair appointments or a favorite restaurant closing eventually gave way to the crucial issues created by COVID-19; unemployment, financial losses, and, more importantly, health care and death. Our lives changed throughout the month of March.

My life changed, however, before the pandemic.

On February 28th, the ground under my feet disappeared as we stared at the golf ball-size tumor on John’s brain scan. For the next few days, I had an out of body experience, as if this news was happening to someone else. In that moment, the past and the future quietly slipped away, and we surrendered to a strange new reality.

In this new life I must understand the knife-fight I am in and, yet, remaining positive and optimistic about the future. Every moment has always been fleeting, but now the truth of life’s temporary nature is glaring and impossible to ignore. As moments slip by, unstoppable, I am looking for meaning and joy in each one. I pray each morning for the courage to find it.

Cancer shadows each day, Covid-19 lurks outside, but this moment of sitting in the sun, of walking in the woods, of talking with my family- it is mine to relish and enjoy. The past is like a different book I must shelve, and the unpredictable future can no longer rule my choices. My to-do list personality has often blocked my ability to be in the moment. That is my own personal challenge in this journey.

When I started this blog in 2017, “Losing Sight of the Shore” captured my feelings perfectly. My husband and I were beginning a new phase in our lives, letting go of established careers and a home in the Midwest. We de-cluttered and shed 32 years of “stuff”, and we took off for Europe with one-way tickets and backpacks. We were saying goodbye to a familiar shoreline and sailing into uncharted waters.

I now walk a shoreline not of my choosing, and I am searching for joy in the smallest of things- a hot shower, the sun on my back, the warmth of my bed, dinner with family. If I raise my face to the sun and enjoy the clouds in a blue sky, I celebrate each day, each moment gone by.

Twice this week, I stumbled onto this quote, so it must want to be shared.

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross)

Here is to finding that light within.

3 thoughts on “Being Present

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