The Gift of Presence

I read a lot of theological based material these days.  It makes me think.  This morning I ran across this article that spoke to me.  Please take a few minutes to read it.

Living Boldly in a World of Shame

My wife and I have intentionally and dramatically cut back on gifts (aka things) to friends and family.  The reasons are partly financial as our income dropped like a rock when we answered God’s call to come and serve here in Guatemala, but we do it primarily because the vast majority of people in North America have far more things that they could ever possibly need but they always seem to want more.  Within our own lives, we fight this same battle against the desire for more things even in our greatly simplified life here in Guatemala.

The alternative we offer is the gift of our presence.  In the case of our family and friends, it is our once a year journey home to spend time with all those we love. Here in Guatemala, it could be attending a funeral of someone we never met to show our love and concern for the still living friend or relative who is hurting so badly in this moment.  It might be sending invoices to teams without whose income our Project Salud y Paz ministries around healthcare and education for the economically poor indigenous population of this beautiful country would not exist.  It might be listening to the incredible stories of faith and discipleship from those who have so little.  It’s sad to say but some do not see the value of presence, still desiring things that they can touch and hold.

There are times when what we are doing here seems to be nothing but a drop in an enormous bucket.  It can be overwhelming and it can be demoralizing.  It is then that I try to see that to the Guatemalans we serve and to those we work alongside, our presence may be just what they need and indeed may be God’s face in this world at that moment.  There are also many times when their presence is exactly the same thing for me.

The author of this article correctly understands and says so much more elegantly than me that presence and listening are sometimes so much more important than trying to identify and fix what we think is wrong.

Be “present” for someone today  As I reread what I wrote here, I was struck by the realization that the “presence” concept we’re talking about here is a lot like what God gives each of us through prayer.  We only have to choose to share.

May you feel and recognize God working in your life today and always!



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