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  • Writer's pictureJessica Marie

Your Present is Not Permanent

Most of the world was beyond ready to move into the New year, but I wanted to ponder 2020 for a moment and reflect on all that happened personally for me. I concluded that it was the fastest yet slowest year, and I was beyond ready to leave it in the past. So much happened that I forgot about - both good things and a lot that forced me to grow. Despite it all, a glimmer of hope sprung up in my spirit as we reached the end of such a trying year. Then 2021 came around, and the first few days rendered chaos. I found myself ready for the days to pass (mainly January 20th) in hopes that we may potentially experience somewhat of a "normal" year. However, the humor on social media and constant prayer kept me afloat. Then, as usual, while thinking, I caught a thought. That thought is what I wish to share with you in this post:

December 31st was the night of my church’s NYE watch party. The watch party started with a reflection of 2020, which lead to a commemoration of members who died. During that segment, and shockingly so, a familiar face popped up on the screen - my heart dropped. It was the face of someone I grew up seeing on Sundays. She served diligently as an usher at church and possessed the sweetest soul - always smiling whenever she saw me or anyone for that matter. That same sweet smile now reflected on the screen - a reminder to me of the stunned feeling I experienced throughout 2020. The screen also revealed the date she transitioned; May 2020. I had no idea. I just saw her a few months before the Covid-19 shutdown. How? Why? I sat there slightly bewildered. Then I thought about all of my other friends at church that I hadn’t seen in a while. I wondered how they’re doing? I said a prayer of health, wholeness, and protection over them. A bit of humbleness and gratitude also overcame me as I thanked God for protecting me throughout 2020. That’s when it hit me: yes, I have goals that I seek to accomplish in 2021, but in pursuing those goals, I also need to live in the present moment. That segment at church during our NYE watch party and even moments in 2020 made me realize that life moves fast and things are always happening. If I am not intentional about being present, presenting my whole self, and enjoying the time that I have now - I will rob myself of life and the true meaning of living.

While remembering 2020, I realized that I was so anxious to get through it that I often overlooked certain moments. That is evident as I sat reflecting and half of my reflection consisted of me saying: “Oh yea, that did happen this year.” I wonder what difference it would have made had I fully embraced the last Sunday of physically being in church before the shutdown? Or if I would have enjoyed life more instead of being so eager to check things off my checklist, rush to accomplish the next goal, or impatiently wait for the days and unwanted (or unappreciated) seasons to pass.

As a task-oriented person, it is often hard for me to quiet my mind, but I realize its necessity. There were so many moments in 2020 that I prayed for but then overlooked in the present moment as it came to fruition. And although it was a lot going on, I could have sat in it a little more - leaned into it a little more - and optimized those moments, ultimately cherishing the present because it is time and experiences I can’t get it back.

Life is so precious, and though there are things we have to do daily and goals we want to accomplish, it is also equally (if not more) important to live presently. There are many lessons to learn in the present moment. So much joy to experience. So much life to live NOW, at this moment. Seeing Ms. Oliver was a reminder that I need to embrace each moment of life and all that it entails because this life is not meant to live forever.

As I embark on new territory in 2021, I will keep her smile, warm hug, and classiness in my heart. As I press forward, I also vow to live in the present moment. I will not take the present for granted but will choose to bring my whole self and enjoy every season - whether it is pouring rain, gleaming sunshine, or chaotic as hell.

Practical steps I plan to incorporate:

⁃ Pray for help in this area

⁃ Train my mind to give my full attention in each moment

⁃ Lean into conversations, actively listen and make good eye contact

⁃ Put my phone down often

⁃ Take as many social media/TV breaks as possible

⁃ Cast my cares (don’t fixate on things I cannot change nor control - it will boggle my mind and steal my joy)

⁃ Genuinely live and love (I am reminded again of the hugs Ms. Oliver used to give, and though we can’t necessarily hug right now, we can give some type of gesture or offer kind words to those we encounter. This will require attention if you are truly genuine about it)

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