I’ve texted the single word here just after I put the car in park and wait.
It’s the most succinct way to say: I’m in the car outside the school waiting for you so. Here suffices nicely.
It is the opposite of there but it means so much more: together, let’s go, hurry up. Here and there will forever be separated by a chasm of geography. But, is it more than that?
I’m so glad I’m here – I choke out these words through emotions and yes, often tears. Because here is where I want to be, and I almost wasn’t. And that near miss of the adventure of this life with my husband, with my kids, with the people I love gilds the time I do have with them. And while it makes the opportunities to share life together more golden, I also feel this pressure building in my chest, in my soul to make it count, enjoy it more, express my truth, love intentionally.
A few weeks after our accident, I was able to ride to my youngest son’s cross county meet. At seven, Nikko ran with the goal in mind. No pacing, no strategizing the course. He ran with an all-out fervor to win, to be fast.
And I sat in our van, the one replaced by insurance because our first one sat as a crushed can in the police evidence lot, and cried alone, unable to navigate the grassy entrance to the field where hundreds of little runners chanted their grade-school names and breathed into the fall air
I’m so glad I’m here.
The next cross country season, I walked onto the field, unaided by walker or cane, still with a limp and the constant ache, and hugged him and said in his ear:
I’m so glad I’m here.
And I’ve said those words hundreds of times in the past months. That is a lasting pink scar from the night I nearly died, a part I hope never fully heals: a desperation to feel the pang of the possibility of missing out on the good gift of living so I don’t miss it entirely.
I wish I could convey the urgency of being here, to give it to anyone I touch and speak to. Because in learning how to be here, I’ve learned it isn’t about geography on a map, the opposite of there. I’ve learned it’s about the geography of the heart.
The distant isle of there is a matter of choice. We speed to there on wings of self-service, we build a path away from here by complaining; discontentment is a vessel that removes the heart of joy that can be found in the present place of here and now and exiles it to there. When we check out from being part of of own present tense we miss the immeasurable possibility of what lies within seams and under the folds of our here.
Because here may be a place of unpaid bills, of replayed fights that always end the same and never accomplish any good, it may be the boring routine, the body that’s sick, the hurt that won’t heal, the past that won’t mend, the carpet that’s stained and the jeans that don’t fit and all you want to do is get out of here.
I get that, I do. But I know a trick, a tiny key that turns the lock and opens the lid to a mystery: you are not alone in your here and now.
“I AM with you, even to the end of the age,” Jesus promised. (Matthew 28:20) He sends text messages to the hearts of the lonely and the abused and the angry – here.
Whatever your here is, He IS. It isn’t about geography, it’s not about where you are, but who is with you.