Personal Reflection, Writing

Present Tense

I used to write in places like this one.

The cafe I’m sitting in is the sort of place I used to write in regularly. That’s what I thought about as I walked through the chiming door into the buzz of conversations and the invigorating odor of coffee.

I used to….

The past tense of the thought unsettled me. How else to change it then but by writing in this place? I promised myself that before I left this table at a picture window overlooking the downtown shops, I would write something. I’d write for the sake of transforming my statement to the present tense.

So, here I am, writing something in this small-town coffeehouse with delicious pastries, soothing teas, and busy tables. Just as I should be.

I’m currently living in a meet-the-needs-of-this-day mindset. It neither allows for procrastination of things to be done today, nor for anxiousness about days ahead. That’s not to say I’m free from procrastination or anxiety (wouldn’t that be a dream), but I’m trying. I’m aiming. Some days I land near the target and some days I lose track of it entirely. My brain and my emotions are in recovery mode currently and I find I only have the capacity – emotionally, mentally, physically – for what is truly needed for the present day. Rarely more. In low moments, even that much is questionable, but only in the low moments.

I’m discovering the words and actions that help me silence the anxious, speculative thoughts. There is no ignoring the tension I carry in my muscles from the moment I wake until I eventually fall asleep in the middle of the night. My heels are dug deep in self-awareness, constantly in tune with the ways my body and mind need to be supported. It is both transforming and exhausting. I am counting on the habits I develop now, in this less than ideal place, to help me thrive beyond this leg of the journey.

My personal journal was all I could pick up for a while, but I’m breaking back into the novel WIP and blogging in recent weeks. The energy that writing gives, plus the unshakeable desire to write much, much more, propels me forward while other pieces of life right now are pulling me down. Undoubtedly, writing will continue to be one of my most encouraging companions as I transition from crisis mode to adjustment and acceptance to thriving on a new path.

Living in the present, carpe diem, and all that jazz have taken on new meaning lately. They are less about taking bold chances and more about expecting both God and myself to see to the needs of this day. “Give us this day our daily bread.” How often I’ve prayed that one line in sporadic moments through the last few months. For strength, clarity, wisdom, grace, peace… just for today. Tomorrow is still out of my reach, and that’s probably for the best. Today has trouble enough of its own, to paraphrase Jesus.

So far the track record for that little prayer being answered is as steady as can be. He makes a way and, one day at a time, I try to walk it. Maybe that’s as much as I ought to expect of myself in any stage of life, not only the one I’m navigating at present.

My tea is gone and I’m going home. I’ll be back though because…

I write in places like this one.

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