Being Present–Part One

What does it look like to truly be present? We work with college students, and as I’m on campus, I’m increasingly aware that a great majority of students are not fully present.
Earbuds in their ear while they walk to class, never noticing that a friend is two steps ahead.
Texting during lunch with a friend, never really having a conversation.
Perusing “stuff” on their phone while studying, wondering why they can’t really grasp the content.
In a culture where are surrounded by more, and faster, and technology, we are losing sight of contentment, slowing down, and the simple things.
It’s easy for me to look at students and think “When I was in college, I didn’t have a cell phone, I had to plan ahead and get time with friends face to face” or “When I was your age I relied on the computer lab, nothing like having a ‘computer’ in your pocket at all times.”
But then I have to be honest and look at myself.  Am I fully present in my own life?

It’s easy to work so hard to capture the perfect picture of my children, as if that photograph is going to preserve the current moment. But in reality, I’m not even enjoying the current moment, I’m too busy trying to photograph it! 

It’s so easy to be reading books with my kids, but aware of the buzz in my pocket indicating I received a text message, and wondering “who was that?”
It’s so easy to be so distracted by the blogs, the facebook posts, the texts, the news articles, the pinterest feeds, and so not present in my own life- the beauty of my kids, the discovery of what they’re learning, and the joy they have in such simple things!
I by no means have it all figured out, but I am making a conscious effort to be fully present! To say no to the urgent, the newsfeeds and the constant information and say yes to being where I am.
As a kid I remember moments where I was at the park or at an activity, but knew I was missing out on something else at that moment and so I would be having such a hard time enjoying the park, as all I could think about was what I was missing out on. 
And my dad said a few short but profound words, “Wherever you are at, be there!”
So simple to say, but so hard to do!
When you are at a meal with a friend, be there!
When you are at home in a messy house with toddlers, be there!
When you are on a date with your husband, be there!
I encourage you to think about your own life and wherever you are at, be there!
In Joyful Surrender,
Note: “Being Present” is a two-part blog series.  We mistakenly posted part two last Wednesday before we posted part one (above).  Sorry for any confusion!

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