Saturday I visited one of my elderly clients at his facility. He was on his bed with his eyes closed. I sat next to him and waited. He opened up his eyes and smiled. He doesn’t know who I am. He has dementia. However, he never questions who I may be. He never asks. He is forever present.
This man continues to be a teacher. I refer to him as Yoda. A few months ago, when the state appointed him to us to be his guardian representative, I went to his house to get a few things before everything would be disbursed and sold. He had already been placed in a facility. So I went to his apartment and gathered personal items.
There were no signs of a past life. He is a minimalist and everything was very neat. He was a photographer by profession and had many cameras but no personal pictures. He never married or had children. He has no one. Leaving his place puzzled me. It was as if he rented space in his life. He lived in the present moment.
And…he continues to live presently. When I sit with him he never shares of his past, as if he had none. He doesn’t ask of his future, as if it’s irrelevant. We talk about the weather or food. Every so often I ask about photography and I am reminded he is still taking mental pictures of the present moment. He is available to see light and a world only seen through a small lens. He doesn’t care what’s beyond the view.
I brought him a box of chocolates for Christmas. He opened it up and stared at it, carefully observing the shapes. He was grateful but I was more grateful in noticing the moments of his discovery. His beautiful green eyes lit up with each bite.
I want that. I want more of what he embodies. I want to stay present without questioning the future. I want to stay here without reliving my personal stories. Through his gentleness I am recharged. I am given hope that we can all stay in the now.
We get to decide how we show up. We willingly get to participate on this journey however we feel we must. So, I must show up like that…completely immerse in what is happening this moment without rushing it. It’s like taking a photograph and capturing that second forever. Now!