A Reflection on “Presence”

It occurs to me that presence is perhaps the ultimate gift we can give another and perhaps the, deepest longing of the human heart. To me, the gift of presence means the ability to be fully engaged and completely attentive, both physically and emotionally, to another person. It means having the ability to clear the deck, create the space, turn off the computer or cell phone and in many cases, even our own voice, in order to listen, to listen with our heart. Consider your most meaningful relationships. No doubt, most of them live beside a cacophony of sound and within a bevy of activity. When was the last time you really listened to a loved one…not to advise, not to persuade, not to be entertained, but simply because they needed you.

Today, I had the opportunity to be present to a loved one and I chose to take it. This occurence wasn’t on my calendar, wasn’t in my plans. The result was simple but profound. I witnessed my loved one’s anxiety lift, smile return, body relax. I saw the transformation from agitation to serenity, from fear to courage, from negative to positive. This was not the result of any magic words or solid advice I offered. It was simply the result of the decision to sit, to listen, to stay and to practice patience. In a word, it was simply a product of love. In the end, two people grew closer, two people felt better and two people gained a deeper appreciation of what it means to be present to another.

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