A lesson in being present
This Lent has been a whirlwind.
The circus-like atmosphere of the election season, traveling, and work has kept me busy and distracted.
The other day a local L’Arche community came to our convent and gave a presentation. L’Arche is a worldwide movement founded by Jean Vanier in which people with developmental disabilities or “core members” live together with “assistants” in a familial, homey atmosphere.
During the presentation, one of the assistants, Emma, shared an experience she had helping a core member named Katie pick out a pair of socks for the day.
Purple socks with yellow polka dots? No.
Katie examined the socks and then carefully put them to the side.
Emma said, “As I was standing there, I thought …”
Before she finished, I filled in the blank in my mind: How annoying! How long is this going to take? Arghh!
But that is not what she said. “I thought, I am really lucky to be here, to be present to the world, even for a second, like Katie is,” Emma finished.
To be present to the world.
I was home recently and spent some time with my three-year-old niece, Ella. One day, as we were rushing out the door, Ella insisted on buckling the four buckles on her shoes by herself.
“We are in a hurry, Ella!” I said, irritated.
Ella looked at me completely serene, as if we had all the time in the world, and said firmly, “I do it myself.”
This Holy Week, I am taking a cue from Ella and Katie, two people who approach life in a way that allows them to savor each moment.
The clouds of incense on Holy Thursday, the dark, bare drama of Good Friday juxtaposed with the gold and white of lilies crowding the sanctuary on the Easter Vigil.
I want to taste and touch and feel every moment of this Holy Triduum, this pause in our year, this gift that allows us to celebrate the fact that we have been saved.
We may feel lost in the whirlwind of our lives and crazy current events, but we have been saved.
We have been saved.
Just for this week I refuse to be derailed. I will enter the silence of salvation, the pause in our liturgical cycle, the epicenter of history with Jesus.
The circus will continue, but in the meantime hopefully you can find me, like Ella and Katie, being present, being with Jesus.
Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP, is the author of The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back to the Church. She recently pronounced her first vows with the Daughters of Saint Paul. She blogs at Pursued by Truth.