Being Present

We cannot alter the past or control the future, but we can work on being present.

A storm rolling in over a soybean field in the Mississippi Delta. Photo © Delta Bohemian®

A storm rolling in over a soybean field in the Mississippi Delta. Photo ©2014 Delta Bohemian®

By POOR WILLIAM

CLARKSDALE, Mississippi

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”  —  Luke 12: 25-26

Memories and future worries are not reality—not really. Memories, in the non-corporeal form of past actions influence the present and the pre-determinations of our future, but they are no longer. Their power over us, though, is very real!

The more we can live in the present the better off we are and shall be. I have spent years with an unrecognized, overzealous, detrimental view of the present formed by a misunderstanding of Judeo-Christian tenants. Namely, tying the present too eagerly to the perceived selfishness and intense focus on the individual found in existential thought. In other words: “If I live in the present then I am focusing too much on me;” which, by the way, I already do!

Now, don’t give me that religious guilt speech here trying to make me feel better, as I know I am about the sorriest cat there is. But, by focusing on my past behavior and my sins and faux pas, I am allowing the past to direly affect the present and thereby the future! Whew!

My wife, Madge, has influenced me by example that living in the present is the place to be and the way to be. Present living allows for a spontaneity that opens up opportunities to encounter and relate with folks and ideas not available to one who attempts to control that which isn’t controllable—life! I try to package “my world” daily, and the harder I try the more elusive and unmanageable it becomes.

Being present requires relinquishing plans, safe environments—both physically and emotionally, and it requires one to be fluid enough to roll with the unexpected. I like change and the stimulation found in the unanticipated, but I just want to be the one who decides what changes. Life just doesn’t work that way.

For me, living in the present requires a trust in a God who I believe to be omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and always good, even if I don’t understand the world and its inherent sadness. If I am present, then I must allow for serendipitous, providential, unexplainable events and path-crossings that quite frankly scare the hell out of me.

However, if I am to love God and love others—concepts and actions I talk about a lot but do so poorly—then I have to trust that what comes my way is intended or can be used to some greater good that I may never understand.

Life is a short ride, many memories are painful, and the thought of a future with all the possible and probable pitfalls is frightening. Yet, I cannot alter the past, control the future, but I can work on “being present” in the present! The past is not real, the future is not real, but the present is. God help me to live in the present! Amen!  pw

Listen to Poor William’s PS

 

A nest of dove eggs in a soybean field in the Mississippi Delta. © DELTA BOHEMIAN®

A nest of dove eggs in a soybean field in the Mississippi Delta. © DELTA BOHEMIAN®

A nest of dove eggs in a soybean field in the Mississippi Delta. © DELTA BOHEMIAN®

A nest of dove eggs in a soybean field in the Mississippi Delta. © DELTA BOHEMIAN®


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Comments

  1. Thanks for the post, Billy. This one really hit home! Just what I needed today…

  2. This article showed up on my news feed on FB today. Re-read. What a wonderful article, Billy. Thank you! And thank you, Bubba, for your comment, too.

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