Being Here Now

A Reflection by Sister M. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH

As I exited my car, I heard a voice—a voice telling a story about an old man.  It turned out to be a tape playing in the next car.  The window was wide open and an old man was holding the cassette tape player and chuckling at the story.

Elderly man laugh in his carThe driver of the car must have been in the store; the old man was content to sit, listen and chuckle.  He seemed a character out of a book I’ve been relishing lately called Aging Together by Susan and John McFadden.

The old man appeared happily oblivious to the fact that “in our culture, aging itself is frequently presented as a form of failure, to be resisted and, when possible, overcome.” (McFaddens, page 92.)

I suspect the old man figured that he’s lived long enough and worked hard enough to have every right to sit in a car on a warm summer morning and laugh.  He didn’t know he was giving a gift of his good example, living in kairos* time—no anxiety about the future, no regret about the past, just being here now fully present and perfectly peaceful.

Being Present at the MomentI’m hoping that in the few seconds that he and I breathed the same air, that he was highly contagious and I caught his spirit.  Time will tell.

How well do you do at “being here now,” living in kairos or vertical time?  What importance does it hold for you?

* Ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment—the supreme moment.

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