May 14, 2021

Guest Column / Richard Etienne

Be present in the moment, sit and listen to God’s invitation for you each day

Richard EtiennePlease answer the following question: Which of these best describes how often that you find yourself hurrying: rarely, occasionally, regularly, or quite often?

There is a natural tendency in most of us to be one of the following: “almost always done early,” “just in time” or “usually late.”

Why does it even matter? I have been taught—and it is now my firm belief—that hurrying can steal joy from the present. When a person is nearly always focused on some quickly approaching deadline, it is difficult to enjoy the present task.

Even something as small as washing dishes can be an event to be savored—the feel of the warm water on your hands, a brief moment of quiet in your day, etc.

But if a person is already dreading the remaining tasks on their “to do” list or regretting or rehashing some event that happened in the past, it is difficult to enjoy the gifts of the present moment.

My spiritual director calls this syndrome “the future draining the present.” If we spend too much time dwelling on the future—or reliving the past for that matter—there is little psychological energy available to deal with the issues that surround us in the “now” or current moment.

Our task is to “be where our feet are planted” and not somewhere else in our mind in the distant future or past.

Yes, it is true that there are times when it is quite appropriate to hurry—a pan on the stove that has caught fire, a small child crawling toward open steps, etc.

But, far too often, hurrying becomes a familiar habit and a regular way of life that zaps the joy of living from the current moment.

Having said all of this, one might ask: Is there a time when even God would have us hurry? In the Second Letter of

St. Paul to the Corinthians, we hear, “Now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2).

We are always invited to accept God’s invitation to follow immediately!

There are times when it is appropriate to hurry, but should it become our everyday mode of operation?

I believe a healthier approach to existence would best be served in a state of awareness and mindfulness of our surroundings in this present moment.

Do you need to hurry away now for some reason? Or do you have a minute to sit with the Lord and see what message or activity that God has prepared for you today?

(Richard Etienne has a degree in theology from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad and resides in Newburgh, Ind.)

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