Discipline of Now

“There exists only the present instant…a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence.” -Meister Eckhart

I have spent plenty of time this month thinking about the past and the future. I’ve mourned the loss of what wasn’t: no graduation or prom or the regular end-of-year rituals. I’ve given thanks for the gifts that have come from this challenging time: more time as a family, a quieter life, reconnecting with old friends, making new ones.

Even as I think of the past few months, my mind is turning to the months and year ahead. There are plenty of anxieties: how will we nurture our kids while keeping them safe? How will we lean into the challenges and support one another and prevent burn out? How long will this season last and what will “normal” look like?

But so too are there things that energize me, like wondering about the innovations that are born of necessity now but will make us stronger. And excitement to see how our amazing faculty and staff share their gifts and talents to help Rabun Gap not only survive but thrive through this.

But what about the Now? This moment we have that is immediate and present and demanding our attention? How are we using our time in this moment? It is an act of discipleship not to get lost in the have-beens or could-have-beens as well as the might-bes and could-bes. When Jesus visits his friends in Bethany, Martha grows angry that her sister is wasting time sitting and listening to Jesus when there’s so much work to be done. Jesus answers Martha’s fretting by saying, “Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)

It is a discipline, one at which I fail more often than I succeed, to adopt Mary’s posture to simply sit in the Now and do what is demanded. Perhaps the Now asks us to work and innovate. Perhaps the Now requires our attention in deep meditation and contemplation to listen for the Spirit’s guidance. And just maybe the Now wants of us our whole selves in a time of quiet restoration and re-creation, what we might call, “Doing nothin’!”

Whatever you are doing and wherever, I hope it includes bending to the Now, not missing what God is asking of you or gifting to you in this present moment.

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