Absorb the gifts of the present – Chris Pote

Director of Devote, living in Warwickshire

I don’t have hope for the future. Right now, I don’t want to hope for it or dream about it.

What has been important to me for a number of years has been hope in the present!

It all started just over 13 years ago on 12th February 2007, when our eldest daughter, Taegen, was diagnosed with another dreadful disease. Cancer (Birkett Lymphoma to be precise!). My mind (and indeed my soulmate and wife, Jacqui’s) was consumed with hope and fear for the future (can you have one without the other?). What unfolded over the many months in isolation in hospital with our 5 year-old daughter was a revelation that we had everything we needed right there with us, but for a million different reasons we had not been as constantly conscious of it. The beautiful excuse that comes with work that you love and gives you meaning and has you addicted to the busyness drug, so we ride life rather than experience it. When you are with a little human 24 hours a day that just doesn’t happen. You suddenly STOP. You see the unconditional love of your family, the humanity of those around you, nurses, doctors, friends, strangers, even your own humanity. You allow yourself to hear a bird sing, and notice that it makes you smile. You would think that Taegen’s illness was enough to help me appreciate the present more profoundly, but what has always deepened my understanding of what is going on for me and around me, has been music. From the first moment I heard the Eurythmics as a teenager, music has been a central part of my life. It is my solace, my inspiration and my escape. It also motivates me and helps me see clearly. So there were many nights, as Taegen slept next to me, that I would lie awake with my iPod on, listening to music and it would help me make sense of my day.

As I sit here today, in what is once again an extraordinary time, music is as always helping me stay in the present. Helping me appreciate that I, and I believe humanity, have everything we need for the future already here. I have a strong faith in humans and our capacity for good to prevail, and that if we spent more time looking at what we have and less time focusing on a future we hope for, that tomorrow will be better than today, and the day after that will be even better. So I am absorbing the gifts that the present situation has shown me. To spend time with Taegen watching Star Wars obsessively and talking about life and how she is. Watching my wife teach thirty 9-year olds virtually and feeling immense pride in her ability and the importance of her work. Walking our newish dog with my youngest daughter, Brea, and seeing how caring and giving she is. There are many more, and of course through it all music surrounds me, and helps magnify the experience.

So we are now 13 years further on and Taegen is a wonderful 18 year old who has amazing aspirations and is ready to go out on the next stage of her journey and grab the present to create her future, I hope you are able to grab it too!

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