On Stepping into Greater Presence
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To be present is a gift.
Presence is simple.
Yet, we will spend our whole lives working on being present. One of the most meaningful experiences is to have someone be truly present with you. Presence flows from the fullness of ourselves. It is a fluid blend of our physical, emotional, spiritual, and focused attention. As is true with much of our journey of faith – to be present is dynamic and ever-changing.
Presence is a romantic ideal while being a deeply meaningful reality. It allows us to be seen and to be known. When presence is met in it fullness, we might find rest for our souls. Every moment and interaction begins with a choice: will I be present. As with many parts of our life, the decision is a starting point. It welcomes us to take those first unsure steps of a journey.
How far will I let this journey take me? Presence, to our surprise, is not at the surface, but of the depths. We quickly discover the depths within ourselves that we are being welcomed into. The path of this journey does not venture up, rather within and into the depths of our pain and self. What may I sacrifice to go deeper into being present?
I know not what awaits around the coming folds and bends of this way down. My eyes need to readjust with each step. They struggle to see the increasingly dimly lit and raw depths of myself. This space within is an ever shifting environment. It feels as though it could crush me under its weight. The looming weight of what has already enveloped me. That I seem to not pass through these depths. Rather, I pull deeper into myself the fullness of this journey that weights and slows me. There is nothing being left behind.
This same shifting, enveloping, and changing reality is present in each person I have contact with. To be present demands I allow the me I am at this moment to come into contact with you. The you that you are in this moment. An acceptance of something bigger than us. Accepting the reality of our context, company, and place in time as it defines much of who I am to you. Giving structure and space to who you are to me, and are with me. It places our boundaries, limiting what is possible. Inescapable boundaries we seldom notice, yet can do much harm. Boundaries etched into this moment by the depths of our vulnerability. Boundaries restricted by how much of our authentic selves is waiting within.
We navigate each moment as we bring in or let out the sails of our presence. How safe is it? How much repair has been done to these sails, or is needed? We each long to let our sails catch the fullness of the wind, and yet we cannot. I cannot. Much of what I can no longer play back across my mind like a film nevertheless resonates within those dark depths. It screams at me to stop, to quiet myself, and to leave for safe harbor somewhere else.
May you find harbors that are safe, and full of gentle loving hands. Hands that will show you how to find yourself again. Teaching you how to see damage in your sails, and that will show you how to make robust repairs. I may not know you, but you are worth finding. I know not what rests within you. I know not where this invitation into deep presence will take you.
Presence is not found in pride, confidence, strength, or intellect. Instead, it emerges out of our frailty and vulnerability. How we choose to discover, know, and welcome our broken self into our world.
All I can do is tell you that the depths and darkness within me have not yet crushed me. Within these depths I continue to find and discover myself. Within these depths I’ve learned to be gentle with myself, to be gracious, tender, and loving. Meeting the me of the past who was doing the best they could. Alone with my tears, within my depths, attempting to love the me who was for helping me reach today.
See your feet as they go one in front of the other. They are on a path. A path where the Spirit of God walks with you. When you know not how to love yourself, ask the Spirit to show you how He loves you. Here in the pressure of these depths, your presence will start to unfurl and slowly flourish. May you find the greater fullness of hope, love, and life that has been waiting within all along.
May you learn wisdom and let it guide you. Bring the fullness of your presence with you where you go. All knowing that no one deserves your deepest presence. It is a gift. Let your wisdom guide how you be present. Be gracious when you are more present than others. Treasure up in your soul when your presence is fully embraced. Your presence is a gift. One that our heavenly Father patiently awaits with great anticipation.
May you find grace, love and tenderness as you journey into the depths within yourself. God share your gentle, loving, and non-judgmental vision with you as you greet things long put away. May you have the persistence to rest ever deeper within and carry ever more of yourself. May the Holy Spirit be a present guide as you become present with yourself. May you interweave your whole self with the embrace of God.
These are invitations to deeper engagement and reflection. As far as you find them helpful, may you find time to reflect on them in solitude, quiet, and with the tender gracious presence of God.
- Think of a time someone was very present with you. What about that moment made them feel so present?
- Recall who you were 10 years ago. Invite God to reveal recent ways you have been able to be more present than you could have been then, and celebrate each one.
- What may be keeping you from valuing presence, being present, or welcoming another person’s presence? Can you gently uncover one or more things that is limiting your ability to experience presence?
- Where are the safe harbors for you? Where and who can help you find rest, and work on robust healing?
- Who is someone you want to trust with more of your present self? Who are people which you should be wary of being too present with?