My mom has always said, "Wherever you go, there you are."
I have spent a lot of years wanting to be somewhere else. When I worked at a school, I wanted to work in a hospital. When I worked at a hospital, I wanted to work with children. When I worked with someone else's children, I wanted to be home with my own.
When I was single I just wanted to get on with being married. When I served alongside my husband in ministry I wanted less responsibility. A lower profile. Some days now, I would love a higher profile ... an audience of more than three little people under five.
And when I'm uncomfortable I want to shrink. When I am angry, I want to walk away. When I am drowning in juice-stained shirts and bath towels, I want to be in the tropics.
Today I went to a funeral.
I knew this gal was special, and at one time in my life I was privileged to see her everyday. I taught her Algebra and we laughed too much and sat on the desktops, debriefed life at fifteen. We did some math too.
The church was packed this afternoon. Those boys I taught seven years ago are now tall, young men with chiseled jaw lines and they were handsome in their suits. All in black ... stoic. From two rows back, I watched them as they did their very best to be men. I remembered them as lanky and silly and it hurt my heart to see them grieve.
With balcony room only, the grief in the room was palpable and this girl was well-loved. The musician played the piano soft from the stage and the lights were down low in the middle of the day.
And I tried to hold my breath ... didn't want to look at faces ... meet eyes. My heart beat too fast and I worked my tissue all to shreds. "Just have to hold it together through the slideshow..."
What makes us want to be anywhere but where we are?
It wasn't until about half-way through when her brother stood tall: brave and articulate. Graced in the moment with other-worldly peace and poise, he called her "irreplaceable" and spoke of how, on her last day, she told friends it was "gonna be a gooood day." She was living in the now.
I watched him breath deep and look out at us ... all of us there. There's no doubt his brother-heart was breaking but he honored her well, brave and fully present.
I watched him smile as he spoke and it was obvious he was picturing her. And in that moment, I decided to stop holding my breath. Instead I really thought of her and how she plunged into my chest with a mile-wide smile and a two-arm squeeze around my middle.
Then I started to cry.
Because that was my time ... to enter in and be wholly there. And sometimes we refuse to live in the now and we miss those moments. We don't fully live, all bound up in fear and self preservation. Sometimes we hold our breath and we wish the moments away. Then we want them back.
We fear laughing too hard and looking foolish. We fear crying and being the only one. We fear lifting our hands ...
We want to be where we are not intended to be: out of this uncomfortable moment or in the inner circle over there. But over there ... who really knows? Perhaps they want to be out. And I think my mom was right: wherever we go, there we are. But we aren't here alone. And we don't have to hold our breath.
He tells us to hold fast to him ... he tells us He is here too, always in our midst. He was here yesterday and he will be here tomorrow, this One who makes the day break and the sun set.
Timeless. Never awkward, never caught unaware or too busy.
Doesn't this help us to be in the now too ... however it comes? However much we want to fast forward? We can sing with the scared child and we can rest with the sick parent. We can be content, we can sit in the traffic. We can worship and grieve and laugh really hard. And tomorrow? Tomorrow we can be in the now, again.
Just not until then ... because right now is the moment He has given.
This is the day...