I sat quietly, listening to the birds, drinking a cup of tea, feeling the rays of sunshine on my face and I felt perfect peace. I wasn’t letting my mind run over things that had happened. I wasn’t making mental lists and thinking about what I was going to do. I wasn’t feeling remorseful. I wasn’t worried. I wasn’t even trying hard to shut down my mind. I just soaked in the moment and enjoyed the feeling of God’s presence. It made me think about how much time I spend in the past and the future, and how rarely I’m fully engaged in the present moment.

Being caught up in those thoughts has filled my life with remorse and worry and kept me from appreciating what’s happening around me. On the other hand, when I focus on the present, I notice the wonderful aroma of my peppermint tea and the damp grass under my chair. I hear the praiseful songs of birds singing after the rain. I feel calm and at peace and in love with life.

Too often I spend my relaxation time dividing my energy, playing solitaire on my phone as I watch a movie or listen to a podcast, or tuning in to the radio while driving. I have a lot of little interests that eat at my time and cause me to miss the beauty all around me. I also miss the calmness that comes from allowing things to unfold in my life and taking things as they come.

It occurred to me that I’ve spent too much of my prayer time as if I were grocery shopping: I have needs. I write them on a list. I go before God and recite my list, then I fill my basket and run back home. I have determined today to make a conscious effort to spend uninterrupted time daily to find joy in His presence.