I wasn’t prepared for this. This feeling of utter abandonment. My wife and three kids left on a plane for South Africa a few hours ago and I am already wondering how I will last this three weeks without them. I kept on thinking about all the things I will be able to do if I do not have to (well this may sound selfish…) be responsible for them, spend time with them, clean up after them, etc. And now there is this silence and this empty space in the house. Yes, and this aching loneliness.

I have been working on being present more, but have not been fully successful. There are always distractions like WhatsApp messages, sms’s, notifications, ambitions, urges, worries, you-know-what-I-am-talking-about. We do not fully appreciate the moment, the joy in my son’s eyes when I play with him, what my neighborhood sounds like on a Sunday afternoon, the subtle nuances in a voice, the feeling of a hug.

And that is funny since I am someone who have to force myself to plan properly. I am getting better at it, but thinking of the future has never been one of my strong points. I am also not very good at remembering the past. Sure, there are moments etched in ones memory, but many things become vague. I only have the present.

Running for one thing can be done in more than one way. You can listen to music to drown out the noises and the pain and discomfort of the running. Or you can run like I do: I see, I hear, I feel the run. I even think mostly of running when I run. (Yes, sometimes I let my mind roam around freely.) With competitive sport like tennis or squash, which I also enjoy, one has to be more focused on the task at hand to really enjoy it.  I wish I could live more like the way I run or play squash – so present in every moment.

I also love making music. In order to play with a band you have to be totally focused on the music. There is no room for a wondering mind. Music also engages ones emotions fully if you do it right. I wish I could live like I play music.

Now my aim is to practice that in every area of my life. When I work, to give my full attention to the task at hand. When I speak to someone to give my full attention to that person. When I play to give my everything for the game.

One final thought on this: there is One who is always present: God. And despite the number of people on this earth he knows everyone’s name.  (John 10:14), he knows everything about each one (Mathew 10:30) and he is very much present with each who believes in Him. (Isaiah 41:10) I am glad that he does not get distracted through all the SMS’s (prayers?) he receives each day. He also fills the emptiness of any absence if one will let Him do that.  Now that is good news for me and the lonely 3 weeks ahead. I will run and make music and play with our cat and dog and keep an ear out to hear when He is speaking to me and remember His presence.

This speaks of Jesus:

22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

(Ephesians 1:22-23New International Version (NIV))

Keep running!