this weekend was an important reminder
more thoughts on time
Hello dear reader,
I’m writing this after just waving goodbye to my parents who have been to stay with us this week. They live four hours away, and so tend to come and visit for a chunk of time. There are tell-tale signs that they have arrived. Bottle after bottle of toiletries on the side in the bathroom. Mom’s flannel and shower sponge thing. Two more dressing gowns. Pop socks on the radiator. A zip-lock plastic bag in the kitchen for all of my mom’s meds. A walking stick in the hallway. Tissues and hankies. The bits and bobs and paraphernalia and gubbins that come with mom* and dad.
They’re not getting any younger. They are young at heart, always, but their bodies, less so. Things are slower. Things are more difficult.
They watch me race around, and it is dizzying for them. They have the benefit of hindsight, and I know that they long that I could stop and be still a bit more.
This weekend, I did stop.
They don’t know this, or won’t have seen this, because it was an incredibly busy weekend. But I made a choice to stop thinking about all the other priorities and take the time to be as present as I could be.
You see, I posted an Instagram story, of my mom, dad and I visiting my son at uni. And a dear, dear friend of mine messaged me back.
This is not an unusual response. It’s something that we all say to one another. It’s something that’s also very hard to do. But this friend, along with several dear friends of mine, have experienced the pain of loss. The letting go, both the timely and the untimely letting go of loved ones. As I type, people we love are in the midst of the confusion of loss. You may be in the process of letting go of a loved one, or know that it is soon going to be with you.
And so, this is the best advice that we can give.
Cherish every moment.
Yes, life continues to be busy and we have toilets to clean and emails to write and revision timetables to create (not ready to talk about that last point just yet). But, being present is something that I know I want to be. I want to get better at being present. To listen, to chat, to smile, to touch, to connect. Being present in every moment that I find myself in.
My word for the year 2021 was PRESENT.
Honestly, I am not doing very well. But the year is not out yet. There’s still about one sixth to go.
Can I encourage each of us to be present today.
In the small ways. Phone down. Eye contact. In this moment. Take time to get the list of to-dos out of your head and onto paper so you can be in the moment that you are in. Take time to breathe, to walk, to meditate, to pray, whatever works best for you, so that you can then engage in the moment that you are in.
Clear your head of the stuff, so that you can bring your whole self to every situation.
I’m learning. We’re all learning.
There is so much to be grateful for. There is so much we have in this moment. Let’s cherish it. Let’s cherish even a regular Wednesday in the middle of November. All we have is now. All we’ve ever had is now.
* I spell mom with an ‘o’ and not a ‘u’ because I was born and brought up in the Birmingham/ Black Country area. I appreciate that for the rest of the UK this an incorrect spelling, but I just can’t bring myself to spell it any other way.
P.S If you are struggling with any kind of loss, please can I send you in the direction of the work of my beautiful friend Zoe Clark-Coates. Her books will support and guide you through the hardest of times. Hx