Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thanks #1: Being Here

A few years ago, I arranged six weeks of travel, mostly for educational purposes. It included many flights, many car miles, sleeping in a variety of places, spending days with a variety of people. I particularly remember waking in darkness one time during those weeks and feeling very disoriented. I didn't know where I was, what I was scheduled to be doing, or even whether it was morning or evening. In all the transitions from location to location and event to event, I'd lost my sense of place.

My phone was nearby and the home screen included my calendar for the day. A review of that and a few logical deductions later, I looked around and decided my surroundings did indeed look like my usual room in my parents' home. I began to feel oriented again. Though my body hadn't moved significantly, I could in some way be more present in that place.

That memory came to mind today as I read the Bible story of Moses tending sheep at "the far side of the desert," where he saw a bush that was burning without actually burning up. Intrigued, he went to explore further. From within the bush, God called to Moses, by name.

"And Moses said, 'Here I am.'"

Moses' burning bush experience was ultimately an orienting one, I think. Rather than ignoring it and moving on when he encountered disorientation, he took notice and engaged. God had taken the initiative to be more fully present with Moses, and Moses in turn chose to be fully present with God. And his world was changed forever from that interaction.

I pondered as I read. I've been learning about being more fully present from the examples of some key people in my life. They're the kind of people whose behavior causes me to pause and consider what they are so attentive to, and even to realize sometimes that they have been listening to my words far more than I have listened to myself. By being genuinely and fully present themselves, they create an opening for me to step back in as my genuine and fully present self, too. Sometimes it is even life-changing.

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