I love this picture. I stumbled across it somewhere online a couple of weeks ago. I feel like it perfectly embodies the problem that plagues my own heart and soul, which just so happens to be the same problem that plagues our society as a whole.
And what would that problem be?
We don’t know how to be present.
Check out the picture again. Dozens of people standing in a gaggle, each of them holding their phones in the perfect position to capture whatever it is that’s just out of frame for you and me. Were the picture zoomed out, there may even be hundreds if not thousands of people all doing the same thing. They’re there, but they’re not really there.
And then there’s the elderly woman on the front row.
No phone. No camera. Nothing.
She’s just there for the experience. Perfectly present for the moment.
She’ll have no snapshot to post on Instagram with the perfectly applied filter. She’ll have no photo to add to her Facebook timeline, making all her “friends” secretly jealous that she lives such an awesome life with such incredible experiences. She’ll probably have no proof whatsoever that she was there for whatever spectacular event this appears to have been.
But she’ll have the experience. She’ll be able to tell you what it was like to be there. She’ll be able to recount the sights. All of them, not just the fragment that was captured on a tiny digital screen. She’ll be able to remember the sounds. She’ll be able to recall the smells. She’ll be able to relive that moment in a way that the other dozens, hundreds, or maybe thousands of people never will.
Why? Because she was perfectly present in a way that you and I hardly ever are anymore.
Have you ever thought about how much in life we’re actually missing because we’re trying to capture it? How much are we missing in those moments when we’re there, but we’re not really there.
Oh, the stories we could tell if we were able to be so perfectly present.
Let that be a challenge to us all.