Present Tense

This is the week where things pick up again. Our first four days of class belong to syllabi, class introductions, and the professor pointing at a student and aimlessly searching their brain to guess the correct name (the same professor called me Paige twice last week, and this morning I was “blonde girl.”) The second week revolves around homework problems, settling back in, and maybe a short essay in Spanish about what you did over your break. Then it’s week three. Bam. You’re struck with essays, deadlines, case studies, and every extracurricular decides to have their beginning of the semester meeting within 24 hours of each other. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and it’s easy to let yourself completely check out of any situation and just worry about what is coming, rather than what’s in the present. For those of you who know me, you know I can get into tizzies fast and wind myself up into a knot over small, minute details. For those of you who don’t know me, picture Taz from Looney Tunes spinning in his notorious fashion, and you’ve got me on any given weekday.

We, as a leadership team met on Saturday and made goals for ourselves for the coming semester. Mine was to breathe, and to allow myself to live in the present moment without allowing distractions and fears to get in the way. Easier said than done. So, of course, when I walked into worship rehearsal on Monday night, I was flustered, with papers flying every which direction, frantically trying to change the key of a song we were singing, while my mind was wandering to the Law and Ethics reading I had forgotten to do. It was the same story when I woke up Tuesday morning, when I was eating lunch, when I got back from the gym in afternoon – my mind was somewhere, but it certainly wasn’t there. Then, around 5:20, the door to my room opened and I was greeted with the most familiar, beautiful smile a kid can know. There was my mom. And everything that had been on my mind just vanished. It was the best feeling. I needed to hold on to that feeling. We went to a local restaurant, and we talked about graduate school, a road trip this summer, and the teenage-isms that are lurking around my sister. Meanwhile, I had truly forgotten everything that I had to do or that I had been stressed about two hours before. I was present. On the car ride from dinner to Lighthouse, I made a promise to myself that I would stay in this mindset until 10:00, when Lighthouse ended.

Worshipping is allowing yourself to be in awe of something. I realize now that you can’t truly be struck by the beauty or wonder of something if your mind is miles away. Tuesday night, while singing, I truly worshipped for the first time in a long while, and I felt calm and collected, also for the first time in a long while. I consciously allowed myself to forget the stressors and be where I needed to be. I hope for it to someday be an unconscious decision, but for the time being, just understanding that being present and opening myself up to worship is definitely a good start.

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