I hadn’t seen her for a long time. Why would she be calling me now, out of the clear blue? She didn’t want to talk over the phone, she wanted to meet me face to face. She didn’t tell me what she wanted and I was afraid to ask.
Immediately my mind went to all of our past encounters. Had I offended her somehow? Was that why we hadn’t talked for so long? Was she mad at me? Had I been completely blind to something? What had I done?
Was she going to deliver some really bad news to me? Or was she going to tell me about some grand scheme of hers? Was she wanting me to do something with her? Did she want me to bail her out of some bind? Had she come to some kind of monumental decision?
How was I going to respond? What if I got mad? What if I couldn’t help her or support her?
What if I cried?
My mind wanted to stay in the past. Asking questions. It wanted to jump to the future. Asking questions. But both were unattainable to me.
The time came. I arrived at our favorite coffee shop ten minutes early. I looked around and scoped out the room for the perfect table. The one in the back right corner. I made sure my back was to the room so if I cried no one would notice. I had no idea what to expect. I couldn’t prepare. So I waited.
While I waited I noticed how nervous I was. Thankfully, I was able to have a little talk with myself before my friend arrived.
“Self, you can’t change anything in the past,” I said matter-of-factly.
“There is no way you can predict what is to come,” I said, almost scolding myself.
I knew better.
“All you have is right now. All you have is this present moment. And you don’t know what it holds. Look at your feet.”
In the past few years I have developed an exercise for bringing me back into the present moment.
I am trying to remember that the present moment is the only place where I can encounter the living God.
I want him to lead me.
I want to hear from him and talk with him.
I want to walk with him, moment by moment, day by day.
I want to be found faithful as I make my journey through life.
I can’t do that yesterday, and tomorrow is no guarantee.
Connecting with him is only possible right here, right now.
As I sat in that coffee shop I realized that I needed to meet him right then. I needed him to help me. So I began by looking at my feet.
Here is what I said to myself:
1. “Look at your feet.”
Notice exactly where I am at this exact moment.
Where am I?
Whom am I with?
Who am I talking to?
What am I doing?
2. Say, “I am here.”
Not somewhere else. I am right here, at this moment. This is the only place that matters. This person is the only one that matters. This situation is the only one that matters. Right now is all that matters.
This present moment is the only one which can be affected.
The past is gone. Done. The future is not yet here.
I only have this moment and this place to make a difference.
3. Say, “God is with me.”
He is everywhere present and filling all things.
He will never leave me. He is right here. He is with me.
Meditate on that for a minute. Accept it.
4. Ask, “What now, Lord?”
What is God asking from me right now?
Be still. Listen.
6. Now act. Obey. Do it.
By the time my friend joined me at the table, I was able to be fully present to her.
I wasn’t worried or afraid.
I just abandoned myself to our time together, all the while continuing to be alert, to listen and respond to what I believed the Lord was saying to me.
We had a difficult but delightful time together. Our friendship was beautifully deepened.
I won’t share with you the substance of our conversation because it doesn’t really matter. It’s in the past.
What matters is right now.
Question: Where are you right now? Look at your feet.