Years and years ago in school I remember the teacher calling roll and us answering the teacher when our name was called, “Present.”
I had not thought of that for years until I was thinking about the “practice” of Presence – The quality of our being fully present to the moment, to what is going on right now in me and around me. We might think we are always present, but are we? Maybe we are thinking about something we have to do later today or tomorrow, or thinking about, even worrying about something that happened yesterday or in the not so near past. All that keeps us from being present to the here and now; keeps us from seeing and hearing what is “right now” in front of us. Maybe C. S. Lewis caught some of the importance of presence in The Screwtape Letters when had Screwtape write to Wormwood,
“The Present is the point at which Time touches Eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which [God] has of reality as a whole; in it alone, freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with Eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present—either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself; or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.”
Today, will you answer, “Present” when you are called to pay attention to what is before you?