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Here We Are

Here we are

I am writing this on Tuesday, cognizant that Wednesday’s coming, and Thursday after that.  I am also fairly certain that what little wisdom I have is not enough—for me, or for anybody else.  Still, I will try. 

Today I am here now.  This is not a platitude, although I think it could be used that way.  I have resolved not to live in the future-- in what if—but to stay here in this moment.  This very moment feels anxious and painful, and I accept that as a reality right now.  This moment is all I have; it is all we have.  Even tomorrow is not guaranteed.  I remind us of that, not because I want to be morbid, but because living for tomorrow misses today, borrows trouble, and amplifies anxiety.

Where we are today is where we are.  I have very little success willing myself into a different space, emotion, temperament.  Today we live in American uncertainty.  Other days, other moments, there will be grief, pain, sorrow, happiness, and more in their own turns.

Seeking, intending, resolving to live in the now—even if we don’t always do it--is better for our mental health. It is also a profound spiritual truth.  We meditate so that we can be in the moment.  We pray to know where we are now and who is present here with us.  Every breath happens just in this moment, and not sometime in the near or distant future.  

 “And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”  (Matthew 6:27).  It is safe to say that we cannot.  In fact, worry robs us of this moment and probably takes years off our life.  And while I want to wonder ahead of this moment, while I am predisposed to worry, I am trying to hold myself on the ground.  It is a lifelong struggle, and today too. This is not resignation, but an active embrace and engagement with life as it is, not as it should be, would be, will be, or might be.  If we have fears, tears, a rock in the bottom of the stomach, a lump in the throat, then that is what we have. If we feel uncertainty, joy, safety, or elation, then that is what we have. What we have is what we have.  It is.  We are.

If you have assurance, then I commend you.  If you are not worrying, gliding through this day, well done!  If you are keeping busy, feeling your feet on the ground, you are doing well.  Today is a gift, the one we need today.  If we are fortunate, another will be given tomorrow.  This one breath is a gift and another may come the next time, another gift.  We have come to count on each breath, each moment as it comes.  Let us not miss it, waiting for the next one.

There is wisdom enough in being where we are.  We feel what we feel, bear what we can, keep about our work, do the best we can, trying not miss the moment we are given. Be here now.  Breathe deeply now. See the person who is with us.  Feel the feeling, harbor the thought, accept the gift of the moment.  Here we are.

Jan Fuller has been the University Chaplain at Elon since 2011. She is an Episcopal priest and deeply invested in helping students to find their own spiritual paths while interacting with others in differing paths with appreciation and respect.Raised in Beirut Lebanon for the first half of her life, Jan is the daughter of Southern Baptist missionaries to the Arab peoples of the Middle East. Jan’s education includes a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary,a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a B.A. in English and French from Hollins University. Jan describes herself as a “war-zone survivor,” who retains a sense of humor and love of gentleness. She loves Arab art and food, and all kinds of music. She intends to find the gift in every day and to live her life as a way of giving thanks.

Contact: jfuller3@elon.edu

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