Fullest AttentionNew Every Morning | January 28, 2023
I always have the option of checking out, of course. I can check my email on my phone. I can get lost in the cocktail party in my mind or peruse my mental curio cabinet of worries. I can start thinking about when I’ll grade papers, how I’ll write about this experience later today, or how I’ll lead next week’s online intensive class. There’s a time for that kind of planning, to be sure, and when that time comes, I hope I will give the work my fullest attention. But now is not that time. Right now the call is to return to the present, where the gift of summer is unfolding before me, where God’s Spirit is gently blowing, where my own life is being lived.
—L. Roger Owens, Everyday Contemplative: The Way of Prayerful Living (Upper Room Books, 2022)
How do you practice being attentive to the present? Join the conversation.
Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
—1 Samuel 3:9, NRSV
Prayer for the Week
Nurturing God, tend our whole lives like a patient gardener. May our desire for you grow as grace works the soil of our lives. Amen.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Enjoying this week’s reflections? Learn more about how to use Everyday Contemplative as a guide for the season of Lent by joining our free webinar with author Roger Owens on Monday, January 30, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. (CT). Register here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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Give myself opportunities to be present to nature, e.g., watching from the 4 seasons room; walking outside; going outside for brief periods throughout the day; putting down my phone.
I struggle with this as I have many things on my mind and many worries. If I really need to immerse myself in something I play with my kitties.
H is now thinking that we live in a hotel. When told to go to bed he says there are no beds free, he has no key and he has no reservation. This morning he attempted repeatedly to put his fork in a container that still had the lid on. I pray for patience and strength.
I seek the Spirit’s help, if my mind is racing or consumed. However, the opposite – inability to focus – is what I have been having trouble with more recently in the morning. Prayer time is challenging, my focus scattered. I keep showing up.
I am picking up pizza and heading to visit my sister. That is her favorite thing…pizza. Some sun today – so pleasant to see. Glad they will be heading back to warmer weather. She said she started feeling like herself on Thursday. She wants to take a walk, but it is too cold – and she can’t put her arm in a coat. She said she will wait until next week. She has been working some jigsaw puzzles to help the time pass.
I’m not very good at focusing on the present. I tend to look to the past and wish for the times that hold good memories. It is a coping mechanism when life gets heavy. And being a caregiver is stressful. Today I ask God to help me stay present in the present: to focus on the now, to care for myself, to listen for God’s voice. I do think looking toward the future and pressing toward the mark of our high calling is a good thing too.
Yesterday, David went with me to run errands. He did well with walking and climbing steps. We visited a park on the lake and took our lunch with us, enjoying the quiet and the lovely view. I think it did us both good.