The recent story of a rescued scuba diver caught my attention.
The story was an interview with a man who had been diving 10 miles off the California coast. When he surfaced, the dive boat was gone and he was alone. He said that what had saved him was the fact that he forced himself to stay focused on the present moment rather than panic about what might happen in the future, or be angry about what had happened in the past. That kept him calm and allowed him to experience that "presence of mind" that kept him focused on the immediate tasks at hand. He was rescued a few hours later.
That story illustrated the same kind of thinking I had to execute when I suddenly found myself as caregiver for my mom during what turned out to be the last few months of her life. We had been involved together in an extremely active business when everything changed and I needed to drop all activities to be with her 24/7. Because neither of us was working, there was no income to pay the continuing costs of living; because I'm not a great cook (my mom was a gourmet cook who had a regular cooking column), I wasn't sure how to properly prepare meals each day; because the need was constant, neither of us was getting much sleep. The list goes on.
At one point when I just didn't know what to do, the thought dawned in my consciousness (literally like a bright light) that because God is ever-present, then every single need would be taken care of in that moment. I pondered that idea. It made me stay in that "presence of mind" that the scuba diver displayed.
I realized that each moment was OK, and I didn't need to think about how something might have been different a few hours ago because that didn't help me now. And I didn't need to worry about what might happen in the next few minutes, days, or weeks, because that was just speculation.
All I needed to be concerned about was the present moment, and that God, Love, was right in that moment with me. I realized that's the "eternal now," as it was always this way and would always be this way - now. The following Bible promise confirmed this: "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Cor. 6:2).
Another idea that helped me focus on the "now" was a passage from a book by Mary Baker Eddy, "Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896": "We have nothing to fear when Love is at the helm of thought, but everything to enjoy on earth and in heaven" (page 113).
This comforting thought brought such peace and assurance. I knew I could leave all to God, to let go of possible tasks in the future, and trust. I was never fearful or anxious again over the next four months of this activity with my mom. And, not surprisingly, every single need was met. Friends supplied gourmet meals daily throughout that period. Checks continued to come in each week from sources we hadn't even considered. Friends came to visit my mom and give me a break. We both felt so cared for, loved, provided for, and at peace.
The presence of God was a tangible, solid, practical presence in every detail of that experience. By staying in that present moment with God, there was never again any fear or anxiety or lack. This experience has been a guiding light in my life since that time.
To me, being aware every moment of the presence of God, of Love, enables us to move forward without fear, whether we're floating in the ocean all alone or caring for someone we love.
How precious also
are thy thoughts unto me,
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them,
they are more in number
than the sand:
when I awake,
I am still with thee.
Psalms 139:17, 18