When I started this blog last July, I expected that I would post photographs and reflections once a week. Fifteen days have passed, and still no post. The repeated postponement is partly that I have been engaged in other activities, but mostly that I don’t seem to have much to say. I have been pondering some wonderful questions, yet my writing seems flat and ho-hum. Moreover, it has been a stretch to find photos for this public forum.
In the past month, I have participated in the Confirmation of 11 teenagers and one adult, a First Communion celebration for 6 children, a family wedding, and my sister’s graduation from Bible college. And my birthday, too! In the first two celebrations, I was the “official” parish photographer, and in the family events, the unofficial photographer. Everyone seemed pleased with the photos. I enjoy photographing these events and sharing the images. However, because I do not post images of family members or church members on this blog or on Facebook, there are not many photos available for posting.
Many of you attend at least as many family and church celebrations at this time of year. Some of you may also be the event planners! I love the celebrations – and all the cake – and look forward to these events. Sometimes, however, I find the planning and preparation stressful, even when I am not the event planner. I find it hard to live in the present when I am focused on multiple upcoming events. When will I travel and how will I get there? What kind of gifts should I bring? What will I wear? How will I meet my work commitments while I am away? And then, after the event, there can be more stress, some of it probably due to the increased amounts of sugar consumption! Did I say the right (or wrong) thing? Did I really need that second piece of cake? Was I a good guest? Sometimes, I replay events long after they have taken place, instead of letting the past go.
When I think about anticipation, I can hear Carly Simon’s song, and sometimes imagine the ketchup commercial that used the music:
We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway, yay
And I wonder if I’m really with you now
Or just chasin’ after some finer day.
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin’
Anticipation, even when expectations are pleasurable, can consume a lot of energy. I am preparing and teaching a new program this month at church, and I am already anticipating summer vacation: Will I travel anywhere? What books will I read? Will I resume the painting classes that I enjoyed last summer? Will I finally reorganize all my photo albums? What programs will we include next year in Adult Faith Development? As summer approaches, I am looking forward to more frequent periods of solitude and reflection. I am anticipating more time for writing and photography.
At-Home Celebration (2016)
Q. How do you balance anticipation of upcoming events with living fully in the present?
Q. How do you remain fully present at celebrations without worrying about the next event?