The Absence of Presence

A recent conversation with a friend got me to thinking: How odd and sad it is, to see so many people who dream big but act small. Consider the folks who aspire to travel — they make bold plans, but never act on them. Or they content themselves with reading travel websites and lifestyle magazines, but always find ways to sabotage their ability to hop aboard a plane.
I suspect, for a lot of people, the real problem lies in living for a hope of a brighter tomorrow while avoiding those tasks for today that would transform that hope into a reality. It’s the “I’ll make time next week” syndrome. Yet it’s not until one’s twilight years that we realize that there aren’t many more next weeks left on the calendar, and the only thing that remains is grief about the things not done.
Some of that sadness revealed itself when I performed pastoral care visits at the hospital. The elderly who knew their time grew short would sometimes share their regrets. Their reflections were almost always the same: “I didn’t live the dream.” Some were stoic about it, others … not so much.
Although some people get lost trying to immanentize the eschaton through myriad harebrained schemes, more frequently, we succumb to senescence like lambs to the slaughter, because we expect the fight for meaning to occur in some ill-defined future. We don’t live in the now. Rather, we delight in comfortable somnolence. Without a sense of presence — rooted in “the fierce urgency of now” — we become our own worst saboteurs.

We need to fight against the absence of presence in our everyday thinking.

A few other quick hits:

  • Had a cigar and cocktail with Jared yesterday. Enjoyed both on the roof of his condo building. Got burned so bad I can’t even touch the back of my neck. Which is regrettable, since yesterday I had my hair tied back — rather than draping loosely across my shoulders — so the one time the longer hair would have been useful, I pulled it back and exposed my delicate skin to the inferno.
  • A big chunk of this weekend was spent at my mom’s. Not only is it her birthday weekend, but my brother and I (mostly him) are helping to re-side the back of her house.
  • I replaced my HTC 8X — a flagship Windows Phone — with the Nokia Lumia 925. I was a huge fan of the 8X, but I (twice) cracked the screen by accidentally dripping it from a high place onto concrete. I figured the Lumia would be the same thing, different vendor, but nope. This flagship Nokia device is truly a thing of wonder, mostly from Nokia’s special additional apps. The camera, navigation and music apps are first-rate contenders. Plus, the phone allows for custom block lists, a “peek” function to display the time on the screen if you wave your hand over the camera, etc. I’m pleased with this device, and I’m satisfied with the way T-Mobile has handled my account over these last eight months since I ditched Sprint. I’m especially geeked at how T-Mo offers a subscription display-name Caller ID function.
  • Had cigars with Rob last week and sushi with Jen. Plus Tony had visited for another recording session.
  • I’ve been parking my GMC Jimmy in the garage since the smash-and-grab. I have two inches of clearance for either side mirror (the “garage” was actually, a century ago, a carriage house), plus I have to angle it to avoid the irregular lines of the house beneath the bay windows. I’m getting much better at backing out with limited visibility and an odd angle … the last few times, I even managed it on the first try. Woohoo.