Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Efficiency vs Presence

Normally we think of absence as the antonym of presence. I wonder, though, if efficiency is likewise an antonym for presence. It is difficult, if not impossible to be both efficient and fully present in the present moment.

This morning was quite foggy. As I drove into town, I began to notice spider web after spider web, orb webs strung between power lines. The fog made the lighting just right for viewing these normally invisible works of art and the drive became a treasure hunt as I admired each web.

To see them required that I become less efficient. I was still attentive to my driving, but instead of rushing along above the speed limit, I moved a little slower and savored the journey. I recalled a homily I heard several years ago when I was part of the Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation. It was about “marveling.” Marveling is paying attention, seeing the world around us with a sense of awe and wonder, even if what we are seeing is something as ordinary as a spider web.

What I discovered was that as I marveled at the webs, I began to see trees, flowers, and other things along my route with fresh eyes. Instead of thoughts about the day ahead, instead of worries about the future or past, I was fully aware of the present moment.

Such awareness is something I long to practice more regularly. I want to be one who appreciates the present, who can see with freshness even the ordinary things of life.

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