Grateful In The Present

17 Jan

“If you must look back, do so forgivingly.  If you must look forward, do so prayerfully.  However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present…gratefully.”  ~ Maya Angelou

Manners.  They were something that was taught and reinforced over and over again by my mother.  Manners were of utmost importance because they reflected not only upon me but upon my parents as well.  That’s what my mother always told us when she would remind us to be polite, to say thank you, to open the door for others, et cetera.

Manners, in my past almost forty years of priesthood, appear to be on the decline.  I don’t see many people holding doors open for others.  I don’t hear please, thank you, or excuse me as often.  Instead, I see an urgency in people who want what they want when they want it and that would be right now.  They don’t care what it takes to get it to them and they will not thank you for something that they perceive to be rightfully theirs.

Angelou reminds us of an important recipe: to  be present in the present.  And the special ingredient to that recipe?  Gratitude.  If we are truly present in the present, we realize that not everything is of our doing and not everything is for us.  We will recognize the people who do for us and give them thanks.  We will also recognize what is not ours and be happy for others who receive as well.  Being present in the present gratefully helps us to be connected with one another and with God.

Not everything is ours.  We do not deserve everything.  When we are given by others and by God, we need to be grateful and to show our gratitude by word and deed.

FAITH ACTION:  Make sure you begin this day by thanking God for giving you another day of life.