>Presence. Here. Now.

>You know, it’s been a tough week with Little Man. Yeah, he’s awfully cute but he’s been feeling the fallout this week, and so have I. Each time we go on a trip, I have figured that you get approximately 3 days of fallout for every week gone, give or take a tantrum or nuclear meltdown or two.

Combine that with our own version of chaos theory – domestic version:

7c X 17d X 9s X 92L x XY7M = S3 = !*^%$#

{number of children X number of days gone X number of suitcases divided by loads of laundry, then X to an integer factor of oh, seven, on trips to the market, then the whole sum at that point again cubed if hormones or infection strike = cranky mom, thrown toys, bedroom timeouts, huffing, puffing and blow your house down temper tantrums.}
Big bad wolf in a four year old roaring version….or a 46 year old gray she-wolf version, depending on the episode.

Today however, despite the new norm (this week’s norm) of a midday meltdown by Little Man, a baby who has found the power and range of his voice but no words, and a hormonal preteen girl, I felt a fresh breath of grace, much needed. And sure enough, I read this (and of course she writes so much more, and so much better, really, go read) just after I inexplicably found the deep down nugget of enough calm to hug the weepy daughter instead of groan, and to walk away quietly after a quick short hug and direction on terms (you know: “if – then”), instead of scowl and yell at the screaming angry 4 yr old. In short, they didn’t push my buttons like they do too often.

Then Buddybug asked me to pray a rosary with him. Of course I said yes. And then I realized, ahh, the Holy Spirit was at work. I was in need of some extra help. Obviously this wasn’t my own ability to stay calm and centered. It was Grace. Needed grace (still right on the edge and I need it so) and I needed to pray a rosary…and think about the inklings that had been trickling into my cranky brain these past few days and were now gelling a tiny bit. And since I think and process best by typing, of course that meant a post, poor you.

Back to that old idea of presence. Present moment. Living in the present moment. It is one of the things I am just really bad at doing. I tend to live my life in a whirling continuous spinning gizmo of cogs, endlessly spinning on the multi-tasking of my life. My agenda, cloaked in caring for others, but really, my agendas. Surely my mind must look something like this.
I always have multiple things going on at once. I am always spinning the next thing(s) in my head, even as I want to be here, now.

And therein lies the problem. If I am not in the moment, the present, then my presence is missing. My full presence. My essence. And then not only am I missing out, my kids and those I am with are too. It makes the complete difference between the stop, look, hug and the point, yell, scowl when the meltdowns start. It is a mindfulness that is so hard to achieve because I let my mind get so full. I don’t think this is uncommon, I think it is a malady of the modern woman’s life (but that would be another post). I do think, however, it is a selfishness {and I am hands down the most selfish person I’ve ever met…see, even there, all about me!} And that relates directly to the article on the sacrifice of love. It is worth a read. As Sister Mary Martha would say, “go ahead. I’ll wait.”

The idea of sacrifice as love is one that is easily dismissed as old fashioned, doormat, victim, self righteous, or most scathing: martyr. In our modern world you have to make sure you make time for you. “Me time.” But really, love is a pouring out of your self. It is giving up your very self and being to another, ostensibly, often, ones who mean more to you than life itself. It is being willing to stand in the tide of the meltdown tantrum and BE there instead of thinking you need to be somewhere else and will they please finish this quickly? And yet, obviously, none of us really like to do that. So, still such a struggle. Because it IS a sacrifice.

It is so hard to be present, really present. But it makes such a difference to set your (my) self aside and be there for the other – the child, the husband/wife, friend, parent. It is the difference between actual love and the mirror image. Between the gossip, the blog, the retelling. Without that presence it is the movie version of love that we play out in our heads as they spin their gizmo cogs as we think of whatever idea is clogging our brains even as we talk, hug, look at our children. It is truly, ‘seeing through a glass, darkly’ (1Cor 13).
LinkIf only I can remember to be open to the grace to be present. In the moment. Here. Now. Instead of my ideas, agendas, sacrificing the “my wants” to the moment in front of me, then and only then will I really live – and more, really love. De Caussaude has it right. But oh, I need so much grace to even get a glimmer of it. It is so hard to do. Sacrifice hurts. Love is one of the hardest things to do in the world, even as it’s the simplest too. Fallout happens. It’s gonna take me a lifetime of practice. I’m a slow learner. And then, maybe someday, I hope, I will be able to see Love, face to face.