Presence in the Present

January 20, 2018

January is the traditional time for self-reflection; we look back over the past year, taking stock of what we have accomplished. Life in the school flows a little differently, though, January is our mid-point; half of the year is finished and we have five full months ahead. Still, January is a great time for us to take a deep breath and think about where we have come from and where we are going. This process is not something that comes naturally to most students, but reflecting on learning and setting personal goals are important skills both at school and in life.  Children are inhabitants of the present and need guidance to become reflective.

On the flip side, children have something to teach us, too.  For many of us somewhere along our journey we have lost our passion for the present. Indeed being present to the moment and seeking God in the now is one of our hardest tasks.  When we spend too much time rehashing the past and rehearsing the future, we risk losing our joy in the present. Our lives can be filled with worries that threaten to consume us. Often we are like the corn plant in the Parable of the Sower. We are good soil, the word puts down roots but those worries choke the life out of us. How can we as learn to bear fruit?

 In the maelstrom of demands on our time, we need to try to be single-minded, focusing on one task, one person, one moment. Not such an easy job in a society that views multi-tasking as a virtue. When we get a moment to pause, it often makes us worry about what we have forgotten or what lies ahead and totally ruins the fragile peace. One of my favourite scriptures is from Matthew, “Your Father in heaven knows you need all these things. Instead be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God, and he will provide you with all these other things.” It doesn’t stop all the worrying, but it reminds me of what I need to focus on.

 I think we all can learn from our children. They seem to understand intuitively that the only time we ever really have is now. Enjoy your now moments. You will never recapture them in memories of the past. Your anticipation of what lies ahead will never have their unique sweetness.  If we can remember to do this, it will enrich our presence in the present.


Christine McInnis