Have you ever been minding your own business and notice something interesting repeated fairly consistently? For example, a quote could be found in a book and later repeated through conversation with a friend. Both occasions of use were on different topics, but key elements of the quote stood out to create a consistent theme. This has happened to me recently and I am always intrigued by how God uses these themes to teach or remind me of important things. The phrase that has been repeated for me is this: be present.
I remember while I was working at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts I had a mentor who always challenged me to be better and refrain from things that would hinder my growth personally and professionally. Of all the advice, and there was much, I remember “be present” was a topic that created a lot of positive dialogue. It wasn’t that we were discussing showing up to meetings on time. We spoke on practical examples such as identifying physical presence being only part of what it means to “be present”. Anyone can show up, but what is their time focused on when they arrive?
Here is an example commonly found in a professional work setting. A gentleman enters the room for a meeting with 12 other people. He gives his salutation, proceeds to sit down at an open chair, then slaps his phone on the table. Said phone vibrates on the tabletop shortly after the the meeting commences. This gentleman grabs his phone and proceeds to conduct his own meeting with someone else not present. Granted, it could be a family affair. In this case it is not. Is this gentleman present?
I would dare say this gentleman is not fully present. The gentleman entered the room to discuss topics with the people surrounding him, but he opted to engage in a text message conversation instead. His body was present but his mind appeared not to be (the person he was conversing with was most likely not present). So what is the point of this example? Be present. Resist the modern urge to be the gentleman in the meeting. If we have committed ourselves to physically be present, I encourage us all to be present in body, mind, and spirit. If we have a phone conversation, be present in the conversation by limiting multi-tasking to tasks which will not degrade continuity of dialogue. Be present.
What about an example outside the workplace? Imagine being down in the dumps due to personal circumstances that make life difficult. Your friend shows up, you speak with them, they seemingly return disinterested vibes. Said friend was present, but maybe they were more concerned about dinner reservations than anything you had to say. Then again, maybe physical presence is sufficient for a lot of people. Everyone is unique. Thankfully when people disappoint us or are unable to be around, there is still someone who is always present; God. It is easy to forget that in our darkest hours we always have someone to speak to and be spoken to through the Holy Bible. God is omnipresent, listens to us, loves us, and even saves us from our shortcomings by the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.
The challenge of presence is for us all. I do not claim to be the best at being present, however, it is something I actively try to partake in. At an event? I try to capture little moments but ultimately be present in the environment. Someone enters the office to chat? I try to set aside tasks to be present in the conversation. An old friend reaches out? I try to be present and lend a listening ear. It’s not always easy, but presence is important.
Since I last posted there has been quite a bit going on. Not only have I been continuing my work with the Marines here in New Orleans, but I have done quite a bit of traveling for work as well. My current role has transitioned into a training and education role which requires domestic travel several times a quarter. It keeps me busy, but I love it. Because of all the travel I have been able to visit states I otherwise would never have visited. Some states include Washington, Kansas, Illinois, and Alabama.
During my work travels I was able to mix in some fun elements as well. While in Florida I got to see some old friends and even ride the Amtrak! Unfortunately our locomotive had to be swapped out and caused a three hour delay. Over in Washington I got to see some historic aircraft that played significant roles in U.S. military history. The U.S.S. Alabama and surrounding monuments were also quite the sites to behold.
One of the best places my work travels took me to was back to the homeland; the Carolinas. I spent time in Greenville where my schedule was packed with full workdays and visits to see many friends. My first visit right out of GSP was to my friend Ryan. I sought out this special visit because it had been five years since last I visited. From there I was able to go to a Greenville Drive game, grab coffee with friends, and eat dinner with friends. Shout out to Mr. and Mrs. C for hosting me for dinner one night! Their applesauce is always so good. After Greenville I was able to go to Brevard where I visited camp family and church family. Visiting camp is always a sweet time.
This summer I was blessed to be at two weddings for two great friends. It panned out with my work travels where I could get out to Titus’ wedding at a very cool greenhouse. The location was great, the ceremony was great, and the reception was great. My favorite part of the [brunch] reception was definitely the biscuits and gravy. Just last week I had the honor of being in Joey’s wedding. We had a fun time leading up to the big day, and, just like that, Joey and Krista were married. Honored to have been a part.
When I am not traveling I am back at “home base” here in New Orleans. The day-to-day work certainly keeps me busy, but my time off too keeps me busy. I took up a part-time job in the city back in 2019. We got furloughed, but as of April 2021 I returned and began working at least 15 hours a week. Not only does it allow me to remain relevant in the civilian workforce, but it allows for supplemental income. This supplemental income was huge for helping on my debt free journey before the pandemic.
Now we are entering into the latter end of summer. This has always been a unique time for me while in New Orleans. During this time I sit in limbo awaiting confirmation that I will be here at least another six months. I am hopeful that I will be here longer, so if that’s the case I will probably be packing my bags in April 2022. We shall see. Prayers are appreciated.
God has blessed me with 31 years of life and, my, what a wild ride it has been. It has been a weird year, but I am thankful for it nonetheless. For the praying type, please keep me in your prayers as I approach the next chapter post-New Orleans. I’ve been in this position before; approaching the next chapter. Looking forward to where God leads! Even in my future planning I will continue to challenge myself to remain present in the present. Can’t start slipping. Until next time: Be strong. Love God. Love others.