The Mercy of the Present

I need to turn over the soil. I need to harvest the broccoli. I need to sweep the floors. Lucy is getting fussy; I wonder how long she will last in her bouncer.

And as I was about to move Lucy outside into the garden with me, hoping she could hang on so that I could work, I was gently nudged to instead pick up a children’s book sitting on the coffee table.

“Do you want to read?”

I squatted down.

“One. One English village.” Her face lit up.

“Two. Two rich gentlemen.” She squealed with delight.

“Three. Three houses.” I looked into Lucy’s eyes and remembered. I remembered what I had forgotten about the present while I had kept myself busy with distraction.

There is a Generosity in the present moment whose creativity gently corrects my desire for control. 

As I picked up another book and set aside my plans, which moments before seemed necessary, Lucy’s joy at my presence to her changed time. Time was no longer divided into minutes with tasks to be accomplished before the next child needed me. That sort of time slipped away as we dipped into something eternal.

If I could name why I believe in heaven, moments like these might be it: moments of joy, peace and love that are so marked by timeless beauty that they could not be of this world.

I have been avoiding being in the present moment. It feels too vulnerable right now.

I want to forget that thousands of people are isolated, sick, and dying. I don’t want to be quarantined at home anymore. I don’t want to be looked at skeptically by others when on a walk. I want to go to the grocery store without feeling anxious. I don’t want to be scared of touch. I want to embrace my family and friends.

But today, on Divine Mercy Sunday, God reminded me of His generous love that lives in the present moment. There is contentment in working on a floor puzzle with my two-year-old. There is bright joy in talking with my cooing infant. There is creative energy in listening to my very verbal four-year-old. There is peace in having an afternoon cup of decaf with my husband.

Maybe more than all of these, there is a God who is always present to me. When most of the time, I am not present to Him. And that sort of generous, effusive, patient, forgiving, healing, embracing love — that is Mercy.

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