The one in front of you.

A friend sent me a note the other day about catching up on reading some posts from September. Here’s the response I started to write:


Thanks for your note.

It’s a reminder to both of us that our invitation is to be responsible for the momentary responses to God and to allow God to put the bigger picture together in meaningful ways.

I went back and read the posts from September. I’d forgotten about them, forgotten about the course that I was teaching at the time, forgotten about Harvey. And I struggle from day to day with when to be original, when to use reruns, when to repurpose other teaching.

In other words, I lack capacity to remember well what has happened and I struggle to make sense of what could be happening moving forward.

I’m guessing that I’m not alone.

At this time of year, there is value in review. I’m spending some time trying to remember the year, the moments, the milestones, the endurances. Some need celebration, some need healing, some need rejoicing, some need repair.

There is value in resolve. I’m spending some time making plans, making preparations.

But there is more value, I think, in presence.

WritingI was talking with another friend yesterday about a hospital he visited recently, in a place where the demands are immense. He said he’d learned that they “care for the patient in front of you.” There are many other patients, many other problems, many other opportunities and threats. But at this moment, this patient, this human, this possible Jesus, is the one to focus on.

I’m not sure what that looks like for you. Here are some possibilities:

Write the post in front of you. Love the one you are with. Fix this meal. Treasure this conversation. Do your best with this client conversation. Treat this person with respect and dignity. Treat this interrupter as a human; perhaps she’s been allowed into your time and space by God to receive the care he’s entrusted to you.

Be at peace.

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