11 December 2008
Scenes from Sabbatical: Being in the Moment
First appeared in September 2008 Redeemer Newsletter
My sabbatical project “everyday sacred” was about finding God in the midst of everyday life.
During my first week of sabbatical I was the parent helper in Ellie’s preschool class. It is the responsibility of the parent helper to provide and set out the snack for the day, and to just read or play with the thirteen or so kids in the class. It was a great gift to have the time to be there. As you can imagine, thirteen 5-6 year olds easily generate plenty of energy and chaos. In the midst of that, Ellie said to me, “Daddy, come here, look at this.” She took a glob of green gak, a Play-Doh like substance, but more soft and gooey, and slapped it on the edge of the table. We sat on the floor and watched as the gak moved slowly down to the floor, folding over itself again and again. We watched for several minutes, and, in the midst of the chaos swirling around us, found what T.S. Eliot once called “the still point of the turning world.”
This, for me, captured so much what my project was about - finding the still point in the midst of the chaos and the busy-ness in our lives. Every day, every moment, our attention is being stretched in many different directions. We are thrust into the future and are rarely able to be fully present in the moment, here and now.
I am reminded that one of God’s names, the one he gives to Moses at the burning bush, is “I AM” - the One who is here and now in this present moment. God is always here and now, always present to us. Each moment of our lives is an invitation to be present to God. That invitation may come to you as the sunrise, nature, an unexpected moment of quiet, a kindness paid, even an illness. It can be anything, even greek gak.
May you be open to God’s graceful presence in this very moment, and in every moment of this life.