On being present

We had a family event here this weekend (the birthday girl loves the seventies, therefore those vintage harvest gold glasses), and I wanted to give the bathrooms one last spruce the day of the event. With a lot on my mind including a new book releasing soon and other responsibilities, I grabbed a bottle of cleaner from where I keep them in the laundry room and proceeded to wipe surfaces. As I came down the stairs, I was already thinking of what I would do next when I happened to glance at the bottle in my hand.

Spray and Wash, it read.

Oh, my. I had used laundry stain remover for cleaner.

On the upside, perhaps no spots in the bathroom?

But, when I checked, it was worse than spots— the toilet seats were like Velcro and the counter surfaces streaked.

That’s what I get for being in too big of a hurry, and not being present.

It all had to be redone.

And that’s the way it goes. Whenever I get in that space where I’m always thinking of the next thing instead of the present thing, something is going to go sideways. Or even several somethings.

When Jesus said, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself" (Matthew 6:34). I don’t think these words were just about not worrying, they were about living today--about plugging into the present moment. They were about slowing down.

Ann Voskamp writes much about this. She says, “Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing . . . Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.”

How can you be present in wiping down a bathroom counter instead of rushing through it as fast as possible? One way is while we work, we can pray for those who are on their way or who will use that bathroom.

Jerry often quotes, “Hurry isn’t of the devil. It is the devil.”

And so it is.

Let’s all take a collective big breath and determine we are going to slow down and be present in our lives.

And here’s another tip—check the bottle before you clean.


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