Here, Not There

There are many things that my wife has been consistently getting on my case for throughout the years, one of them being the practice of being present.

I think it has always been a problem for me.
The Biblical Joseph was known as ‘the Dreamer.’ It’s something that I have in common with him. Not the only thing we have in common, though.
My head was seemingly always in the clouds.
Though I’m here, I’m really over there.

Wasn’t too much of a problem when I was a kid but adulthood has a fantastic way of ruining everything fun.

I’ve always had a hard time being here.
While I’m here, my mind’s racing elsewhere.
While I’m sitting in a meeting, I’m thinking about the next meeting coming up.
I’m here, but I’m really over there.

It’s something for me to work on, a growing edge. The art of being present; the art of being here. To be engaged and fully present.
It’s sounds silly to think that it’s so difficult to do.
But sit with someone and then have your phone vibrate. And all of a sudden, your mind is wandering to: Who’s texting? Is it important? Should I take a quick glance at it? What does this person want? Your mind is elsewhere.

We often glorify multitasking but that aids in taking us away from here.
On your phone while watching TV…
On your phone while talking to people…
On your phone while driving…
Of course it goes beyond just being on your phone. But our phone is one of the bigger culprits that takes us away from the here and the now.

But really — how hard is it to be fully present in the present?
Well, apparently, it’s a lot easier said than done…

Because while we’re here, we’re often thinking about past events or planning for future events…

I started going down this trail of thoughts because of my son who is growing up so fast.
It’s like I blinked and now he’s this humongous boy that has apparently thinks defiance is an option in our home.

We try to walk to school every morning and for the past few months, I’ve been trying to get him to walk across the street to school by himself. He’d always say “no.”
But the morning of writing this, I asked again, all prepared to walk to his drop off spot together when he said that he was gonna go by himself.

I was taken aback. I wasn’t prepared for this.
“Oh okay. You sure?”
“I sure.”
… well then…

So there he was crossing the street by himself and walking to his classroom all by himself. I was so proud and yet so sad. He’s growing up so fast.
How can we prevent this from happening…?

A step further from childhood

Someone said that there’ll be a last time you ever pick up your child. For us, that moment is right around the corner because he’s such a big kid.

There will be a day where I won’t walk him to school anymore.
A last time where I’ll pick him up.
A last time I help him put on his shoes.
A last time I pick out clothes for him.
There will be a last time for everything…
I feel like with every step that he takes, it’s one step further away from childhood.

So I need to make sure that I take advantage of the here and now because next thing I’ll know, he’ll be growing facial hair and no longer cute nor adorable.

And I just need to be better at being present in the here and the now.
There’s so much joy, love, and life happening around us that we miss out on if we’re somewhere over there and not here…

To kind of contradict what I just wrote (because I’m feeling quite nostalgic) I want you to see one of my favorite videos of Nathanael.
We were trying to get him to call us Joseph and Rahel (when he was our foster child — we didn’t know how he should address us and “mom” and “dad” seemed wildly inappropriate). Well, he couldn’t say “Rahel.” This video is the reason why we became known as JoJo and RayRay to him.

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