Staying present every day |

Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.
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Staying present every day

03/31/13 20:51

Palm Sunday in church, I tell my son to sit up and really listen. That Steve is going to tell the story of Holy Week.

“Who’s Steve?”

“Steve!” I hiss. “Our pastor – you know, the guy that stands up in front of us and preaches every single Sunday?”

“He never says his name,” he reasons. “There’s a million people in the world.”

(Heavy sigh)

Maybe this is what they were talking about in my Sunday school class. Being present. I don’t know, I was watching the guy next to me play with his phone. I thought he was texting, but then I saw he was actually taking notes. And I wondered if I could make a grocery list.

Besides, we’re present. We’re all here, aren’t we? We showed up at the right place, at the same time. Curtis? Here! Present and accounted for.

Well – for the most part. Sometimes I make my to-do list in my head while I drive the kids to school. Then I write out the list, while I listen to voicemail. And I leave voicemails while I’m grocery shopping.

Then I help my kids with homework while I put away groceries. And I check their homework while they read to me. And then I put away their books, while they say their goodnights. But I mean, I’m there – I’m getting the gist, right?

Steve makes it clear that we need to stay present in this Holy Week. In every day. And on Good Friday, every minute of every one of those six hours. And I start to think that maybe the gist, isn’t nearly enough. What would it be like to really be in the moment, no matter how great or small?

Here’s what I’ve noticed. I couldn’t tell you who’s texting or taking notes because I’m looking at what’s right in front of me. My seven year-old talks the whole way to school, and it’s incredibly informative. Did you know that if you swallow a button, it floats up into your head and pokes your eye out?

I actually know people in the grocery store. It’s a great way to catch up with a friend, and if neither of us has frozen foods we can get coffee. And talking live to my sisters is so much more fun than phone tag. And we get to laugh.

The kids’ homework doesn’t make any more sense to me when I’m paying full attention, but I noticed that when my son reads aloud, he uses his eyebrows a lot. And because I’m not running off to load the dishwasher, he takes more than just one hug goodnight. And tucks my hand underneath his cheek.

And this is all in just one week.

Being present in the importance of every day of Holy Week has been powerful. And being present in my life and in the lives of my children, family and friends?


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