“Please be here,” my husband pleaded when I hung up the phone in tears. It was December of 1984, and we were living and teaching school in Vienna, Austria. It was the 2nd time I had spent Christmas away from my close-knit family in Phoenix. The first time had been during our first married year when we were living in Venezuela. We had decided we would take advantage of our 3-week winter break to travel around South America. On Christmas Eve that year we found ourselves in La Paz, Bolivia, sitting at a bar on the top floor of the Sheraton because it was the only place in the entire town that was open. I spent that Christmas alternately sobbing from homesickness and gasping for air due to the city’s 12,087 feet elevation. There I was in a moment of life that should have been filled with excitement, adventure, daring, and laughter. And I wanted to be somewhere else.
So two years later when my heart once again started pining for home and family for the holiday, I knew exactly what my husband meant. Please be here. He wanted me to be there. In Vienna. With him. Not 6000 miles away in my mind. I look back on that 2nd Christmas away from family as my all-time favorite. We spent the days hiking in the Vienna Woods near our little cottage. We browsed the Christmas markets in town – miniature cities of wooden stalls that were filled with handmade trinkets and ornaments. The twinkle lights that strung across the booths reflected against the snow-covered ground at night, making the magical village glow with the hope of the season. I learned how to be present that year.
Decades have passed, and now I have a whole new perspective on what it means to be here. I’ve learned that stepping into the present moment is a good antidote for what ails me emotionally. When I find myself living inside my head, whether it’s too far in the future or way back in the past, I gently remind myself to please be here. Because right here, right now, there is beauty to be found and life to enjoy. I just have to open my eyes to see it.
#Youarehere #justtellmewhattodo #rethinkanxiety #tryit #knowyourarc