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Being Fully Present…

What a fantastic time in Ottawa. I miss living in that simple city. This long weekend consisted of friends, family, BBQ’s, walks along the river, and relaxing good times – the usual in the town of Ottawa.

A good friend once told me that maybe I could impact lives when I was away on campus, and maybe I could make a difference in people while I resided in Ottawa, but Toronto was a totally different scene. As I moved back, I took that challenge with anticipation and excitement.

I’ve been back 2 years now and he was right. The city is bigger and the people are busier. And I’ve become another local. Noises pervade conversations about what colors to paint the walls, where the latest deals are, who the latest celebrity is to trash, where the next event is, and of course what the latest gripes about work are. Nothing wrong with these discourses, but they permeate and press in against our minds. Somewhere lodged deep within the heart of this city is either an inability to move beyond the past or a relentless longing for a future that has yet to come, to avoid a life that awaits us here and now.

Even spirituality needs to be scheduled to fit. I suspect there’s an underlying thought that we suffer as Christians when we have managed to take fifteen minutes out of our busy schedule to pray or read scripture. Or we have suffered when we didn’t do as well on an assignment or a project because we had to be at fellowship or serving in some other capacity. What I read in the bible is that the early Christians suffered ‘for the sake of the gospel’. Not for the things we’ve reduced it down to. Something’s drastically wrong with the Christianity that surrounds me.

I listened to a message on the call of Jesus to be “fully present” by Rob Bell, while I drove up to Ottawa. I even had to multi-task this sermon into my life to hear it. This message continues to encourage me to live out the preciousness of life today. Ottawa was the perfect place for me to start practicing this journey of being fully present. I actually stopped myself from thinking other things as people talked to me and listened to them. Yvonne and I actually purposely don’t answer the phone sometimes now. I actually listen to myself breathe again from time to time.

In the adult world, ‘busy’ seems to be the new ‘cool’. A feeling wells up inside me when I talk to younger people that say they can’t wait to grow up and be where people like me are at. It’s a feeling of sadness that comes to me that they might not be enjoying every bit of life that they have right where they are. It also saddens me even more to think that at their current trajectory they could just end up filling their lives with walls to paint and bills to pay… becoming just another busy Toronto local. I pray we don’t let that happen.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Alan Liu July 8, 2004, 4:50 pm

    Dude, I hear that…

    I wrote about this topic a bit on Feb 1.
    http://missionspeak.com/hubs/archive.php?id=Alan_Liu&page=04feb01

    The stat I quote I picked up in Gospel, Church and Culture. That night challenges me still.

    I was talking with some of the servers today, and their lives are even different from what we see here. There’s a world out there that just doesn’t know, both within the church and without.

    Jesus is coming again, brother.

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