As I sat here this morning, I was lost in the news of the day with my gaze fixed on my iPad screen. My younger son awoke and I greeted him and smiled. My older son was busy cooking in the kitchen. I quickly turned back to reading about Isis, Israel, education norms in Germany, and the cold weather up north. My mind was spinning as I processed all the news, events, and points of view bombarding me through this glowing screen. I felt productive and informed but increasingly anxious.
My heart started to tug at me in the midst of my “busy-ness” and I glanced up to catch my younger son, Bryce, staring at me. He smiled. I smiled. I got lost in his gaze and was calmed. In an instant I was reminded that my life was in this room. In a moment my heart remembered that sweet face when he was a baby then saw into the future when he won’t be here every moment. A calmness and confidence swept over me as I remembered that the most important thing was for me to be here – fully present – for my sons.
One day I asked my older son, Ethan, if there was anything as a parent that he wishes I would do differently. “How can I do better? How can I better meet your needs?”
He came to me a short time later and said there is only one thing. He said that since we had bought iPhones I could get so lost in my online reading that I would only half listen sometimes.. He explained that it really hurt. Ouch.
I didn’t see that coming. Overall I felt like he and I communicated well. I took pride in my ability to listen and understand where he was coming from. I was wrong. The iPad and iPhone that I had only had for a year had won over my attention, grasped my ability to be fully present with my children, and had captured my gaze which should be steadily on the faces of those that I love.
Quieting our souls and capturing each precious moment is a discipline and a constant battle in the age of 24/7 media. But it is hardly a new problem. As I tell my heart to be still and soak in the moments, I hear the words of Jesus to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the good portion which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41) I get Martha, sadly. Her anxious activity hits close to home. There is much to learn from that story but one thing it is teaching me is to be still in the moment, enjoy the presence of those nearby, and don’t let the worry and anxiety of the ‘many things’ in life to steal the ‘one thing’ that moment has brought to give us.
This moment is precious. This moment will be gone in a flash and will be a memory for eternity.
This moment is a gift. Even when we are busy with our duties on the job or at home, we can remember to keep our heart’s gaze on what really matters and still our minds to appreciate the gifts each moment brings. Active but not anxious that is what I strive for.
One thing is needed. This moment be in the moment. Appreciate the gift in front of you and don’t let your mind steal you from the people and enjoyment that are right there for you with worry, anxiety, constant planning, or over-thinking all the details.
May peace & joy capture your heart,