Thursday surprised me. There are a lot of ways to be surprised by a day, I suppose. The one I experience most often is “Holy expletive, Thursday is over and I still have so much to do.” (Isn’t it nice that expletives can be holy? They remind me of Robin: “Holy Priceless Collection of Etruscan Snoods, Batman!”)
You could be surprised by the beauty of a day or the quietness of it or by something that happens during it, like a friend bringing you a giant hot fudge sundae for no reason at all. (This has not happened to me…yet; I like nuts on my sundaes if you ever get the inclination.) But I was surprised by the 6:13 p.m., October 9, 2014-ness of it.
I was driving past the In ‘n Out near my vanpool’s park and ride when an awareness arrived that this moment in time existed and I existed as part of it. It seems odd to be surprised that we exist, but I spend very little time in the here and now, which, as a lot of people have said before me, is the only place and time in which we do exist.
So when the here and now reached out and got in touch with me, it was different. It was also immediately and obviously the place I’d prefer to spend all my time because it was alive and beautiful and nothing was missing. For lack of a better word, I’d call it holy, no expletive necessary.
Perhaps the surprise came only after I lost contact with the present moment, which was approximately a nanosecond after it arrived. I started thinking, ooh, this would make a good blog post, thus catapulting myself several hours into an imagined future. But I remember that feeling of awareness, and I’m looking forward to our next meeting.
Note: This idea of presence is old and can be found in a lot of places. I want to give credit to my most recent encounter of it in someone else’s writing, which was a mention of John Duns Scotus’s term “thisness” in Richard Rohr’s daily meditation.