Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Presence

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How many times have you seen a loved one walk through a hard season and feel helpless? (Maybe that's this week!)

When those we care about are in pain, we often don't know what to do. Or what we can do that feels helpful. Or we think we are being helpful when maybe we're not. But surely we can show up, right?

To this, enter this week's word: presence.

Presence defined as sharing space within one's immediate vicinity.

In the spring of 2019, my father-in-law grew very sick suddenly. He spent Holy Week in the hospital. He died on Easter Monday.

As we gathered as a family in the days after that, I have to tell you that I was reminded all over again that southerners naturally know a lot about this concept of presence. Presence looked like fried chicken and cobbler magically appearing in our kitchen. Presence looked like friends playing tag with the children in the yard to keep them busy. Presence looked like people coming and not saying a word (my favorite kind of visitors).

Many said, they heard the news and knew they needed to come and BE with us. Love, they said, just drove them on autopilot toward the house.

While no, there was nothing anyone could do to make our dear one return or the pain in our heart go away, we did have was each other. We did not have to be alone.

Can you remember a time in your life when you were encouraged by someone being present with you?

Over the past many months, the pandemic has reminded all of us all how much we NEED community, right? I need you. You need me. We just feel out of sorts when we can't be with each other.

For in presence there is a gift: you can FEEL God's love in the flesh as he or she sits beside you. God has a name that you can see with your very eyes. God comes close in a human conversation partner.

St. Teresa of Avila once said this about God: "God has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world."

I'm hoping that it doesn't take a crisis point like a funeral to remind you how beautiful it is to give and receive presence. Who do you know needs a visit or a phone call this week? Who can you reach out to and say, "I just love being with YOU!"



P.S. My father-in-law was such a cool man. We still miss him very much. If you want to know more about him, you can read it here.