Sunday, June 20, 2004

enjoying one moment at a time

this is the most difficult line in the prayer (yet) for me. i rarely live 'in the moment', let alone enjoy it. engaging is hard for me. i shield myself from others by not fully engaging. even my husband and children. intimacy is a gift i long to give, to myself and others, but i'm struggling with trusting someone enough to be able to give them 'this' when they could turn it back around on me as a weapon. i'm not ready to take that chance, yet. it's about trust.

a couple of years ago i heard tony campolo speak on martin buber and the 'i thou' experience. it blew my mind. i am not going to try to explain it here because i will do it a grave injustice, but if you are interested i recommend his book "i and thou". he talked about how this isn't a problem just for me, but that most people don't live in the now because it is so dangerous. that when we live in the 'moment' we could truly be experienced by someone else living in the 'moment' when we have an 'i thou' connection.

the 'moment' terrifies me. i think it's because one of us is going to be disappointed. if someone was to see into my deepest soul and experience me for what i truly am, my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams - i would be found out. the myriads of masks i wear would fall away and what would be exposed would be shame. or you, you might not have my best interests at heart, you might see into my soul and laugh, or mock. i can't take that chance. my potential disappointment terrifies me too.

liam is the most loyal person i know. he isn't mean spirited and wouldn't use what he knows about me (and he knows everything i know) to hurt me, but to still offer myself to him in the moment, the now, the present isn't something i'm yet willing to do. the crazy thing is is that i want that 'i thou' moment more than i want anything, both with liam and with god. i still long for that 'i thou' experience.

but even in my longing, most of the time i even keep him at arms length too. right now i'm avoiding silence and solitude.

what if god doesn't show up? what if he's not all i hope him to be? what if he does show up and he's like they told me he would be my whole young life. misogynist silencer? what if? i can barely take that chance.

now don't get me wrong. i've done silence before. that 'moment' i talk about happening didn't happen. but that's the thing about fear, it's not based in reality. it looms dark and spectral, free floating and undefined.

fear is crippling, disabling and so powerful that it truly makes us forget the past sometimes. all the wonderful ways someone or god was trustworthy and loving. how they proved themselves over and over.

fear also recalls the past, those times when we were hurt or injured, our shame and our failures. and the failures of those who were given to us as caretakers. fear is diabolical. it's selective and cunning. it kills hope if we let it.

that's why that merton quote i added last night was so important to me - 'solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers (and sisters) for what they are, not for what they say.' in their 'moment' i am to love them in mine. but that only comes from constant contact with god. if it's left up to me i am a snarling, impatient miserable wretch. loving someone for who they are, not what they can do for me, or say to me. but their core and my core becoming friends. i like that.

especially for my children. i've been trying pseudonyms out for them and i think i will use their nick names - pink and buck. pink (i called her that WAY before the musician ever existed) is 8 and she is like a willow tree. long, wispy and free - i adore her, she is so completely different than i, and she adores me. it is one of the great mysteries of my life. i know it won't last, but for now she thinks i'm beautiful and smart and lovely and wants to be like me. she is fragile and sensitive. things that have been lost to me. i want to engage in life for her.

i want to step away from the computer and say - you are important enough to engage with, i'll prove it to you. one moment at at time. it's rare that i do. my goal is to do that at least once a day. to engage, really engage. most of the time they don't know they difference (yet), but i know there are times when i can wound pink by being distracted with writing and reading. when it's easier to escape my real world for something virtual or made up.

buck is 6, he's so like me that it almost scares me. heck, when i let it, it terrifies me. he has my compulsive nature, that love of sweets and that focus that quickly can turn to obsession. it's inate. and i want to save him from it. i want to keep him from the mistakes i've made, allow him to have that chance that i wasn't given. to turn those areas to strengths instead of weaknesses. so i need to engage in today to model something to him that i can't do when i myself am obsessed.

enjoying one moment at a time. it's so different than living for enjoyment. that's the twist - that's what makes things either healthy or unhealthy. what is at the core - is it the moment? or is it the enjoyment? if we can choose to enjoy the moment, instead of sacrificing the moment for enjoyment - that's where health and healing lives. that is serenity.

i've thought a lot about 'the perfect present' - present both meaning gift, and the here and now - and how being able to give that to the ones i adore. to engage, truly engage, love and care for them in the way i know i should, and long to do.

enjoying one moment at a time.

the perfect present. being so in tune with everything that is going on within me that i can set that aside to experience what is going on within you. what a grand gift that would be.

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