So much of the writing on these virtual pages reflects on where I am in the journey. It also speaks to my companions who reveal God’s love through their joys, their challenges, and their ordinary time.
I seek inspiration in a variety of ways, including silence, inspirational reading, creating, and listening to spiritual leaders. Names like Nouwen, Rohr, Day, Dyer, Deschene, and Hart are guiding me these days.
Once in a while, I am blessed to see inspiration fulfilled in the behavior or words of another. This occurred yesterday for me at a packed Mother’s Day diner on Long Island. The lesson: being fully present!
At the table next to us, there was about a dozen family members, ranging in age from around 7 to 80. There were two elders, clearly grandparents, who sat in the middle of the table.
They were surrounded by their loved ones, and they just smiled in unison. I would glance over throughout our meals, and wouldn’t you know, their smiles remained. They also had a gleam in their eyes.
Surrounded by their loved ones, their joy poured out from their souls. Word became flesh in the midst of bread baskets, French fries, and chicken fingers.
This idea of being open to the present is a great spiritual lesson. Carl Jung and Richard Rohr often discusses the second half of life as a place where we can move beyond our ego or false self and instead be present to the God among and within.
“One cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be of little importance in the evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening become a lie.”
“The second half of life is about learning to recognize, honor, and love this (God’s/ True Self) voice and this indwelling Presence, which feels like your own voice too. All love is now one.”
This all made sense in the gleam and in the smile of those two strangers.
Surely they missed their mothers, their loved ones who passed on or were at different tables. Surely they had health concerns, stressors and even less energy than before.
Their minds and hearts could have been anywhere else. Despite all of that, and beyond all of it, they were fully present.
What was once important when they were younger was no longer true in their evening stroll. As the saying goes, they could “stop and smell the flowers.”
They slowed down. They were present to their family around that table, holding on to the preciousness of the moment.
Sometimes you know it when you see it. I saw “it” in a smile and a gleam.