Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Gift of Presence

We sat by the fire.  

It's been a long time since he tried to correct me, fix me.  We had learned that it was an exercise of frustration for us both.  It didn't work for either of us.  It did nothing for our relationship.

I slowly began to process all the stuff.  The realities and disappointments of life as we now know it, questions and uncertainties that had been slowly swirling deep inside.

Every once in awhile I'd look from the flickering flames to him.  He was looking right back at me.  Tracking with me.  Hearing me well.

No judgement.  No opinions.  No pontificating. 

I felt validated.  Heard.  Safe to be myself, all kinds of messy, imperfect, and flawed.

Eyes brimming, I gazed back into the flames and slowly continued my verbal processing.  The sweet Holy Spirit was enlightening and comforting.  And as the tears flowed, sorrow and truth and clarity came tumbling out, all freed up.

I looked back at him and his eyes were welling just a bit.  He was nodding, not necessarily in agreement, but in an empathetic understanding that drew our hearts closer together.

This is what we're all yearning for.  The gift of presence.  The companionship of another who's not afraid of what they'll hear.  Not thinking of how they'll respond or looking at their watch or are otherwise preoccupied.

The gift of fully being present to another soul.  It's a rare offering indeed.  You know when you're on the receiving end.  And when you're not.

Do you give this priceless gift?  Have you received it?

From My Heart to Yours ~
Linda 💙

*
sharing with Jeanne/Lisa J & Richella & Lisa

photo by HH E on Unsplash

51 comments:

  1. Beautiful fireside moment. And it’s a wonderful gift to sit in either seat.

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    1. Yes, yes. Oh to consistently be a thoughtful listener with no wisdom to share, no agenda to put forward, no urgency to share my own story.

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  2. Oh, amen to those priceless moments, Linda! Danny and I have certainly had our share of those deep, abiding times in these recent days after my bout with pneumonia. How precious it is to have one another as kindred spirits.
    Blessings!

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    1. Illness can pull us closer toward each other ... or push us away because of frustration or fear. I'm so happy for those 'deep, abiding times' you're sharing as you make your way through this crisis.

      Bless you guys as you move forward.

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  3. Absolutely beautiful, Linda. My eyes were brimming as I read. I trend toward logical and practical, so for too long, I tried to fix and correct. Recent years have shown me how precious and lifegiving it is to be the recipient of this gift myself, which is helping me give it now. God prepares us, doesn't He?

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    1. I'm thinking it's rare that we don't try to fix or correct. It's like we can't control ourselves from spewing out our next pithy remark or wise insight.

      * sigh *

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  4. I've been a slow learner but I'm (finally) making progress. Tiny bits but still learning, still trying. Thanks for this lovely example, Linda. Hits me where, and when, I need.

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    1. I completely identify, Debby. I'm a slow, tiny bits learner. And aren't we all? I know few people who've truly arrived.

      Someday ...

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  5. This was so moving and surely something we all crave and long for. Moments with Jesus like this are more precious than gold. May He continually draw you in to those deep times of communion with Him, my friend. Much love to you today.

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    1. You're so right, Cheryl. Only Jesus can truly satisfy, only the Lover of our souls can deeply touch those wounded places and heal, transform.

      But what a joy when He leads us to kindred spirits on the way who can listen well. They're a rare breed and worth cultivating. I'm grateful for those who have been there for me along the way.

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  6. You are blessed indeed to have one who offers (and my guess is, also receives) such a gift :)

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    1. I'm definitely a work in progress and my husband won't mind me saying that he is, too. Long ago, dear friends modeled and spoke of the importance of kindness in marriage.

      Like the song says, 'In the end, only kindness matters.'

      45+ years later, I know that to be true. And with God's help that will continue to be my goal.

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  7. The gift of presence would be sweet,
    might bring a tear right to my eye,
    but I'm in the dead man's seat,
    and there's no friends dropping by.
    Maybe it's a deep-down fear
    of their own mortality,
    that they dread coming too near
    to what, one day, they might be,
    and so I've given up the hope
    to have the chance to sit and chat
    about this life, and how to cope
    with the place we all are at,
    standing at the edge of time,
    not treating cancer as a crime.

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    1. It's times like this that we realize how present God is and that He's not at all put off by our circumstances, diagnoses, or life expectancies.

      So very present 'in times of trouble' {Psalm 46:1}. And He's not going anywhere.

      Rest well this evening, Andrew ...

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  8. YES, the gift of presence is surely precious to us all. Sometimes it takes something major in our lives to make us truly realize just what a precious gift PRESENCE is. I feel safe in saying that we all at times tend to take that gift for granite. Love this post. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Yep, you're right. It's in the major upheavals and losses and transitions that we realize how desperate we are for another's ministry to our brokenness. And when people aren't willing or able to be there in the ways we need them most, we have a friend who sticks closer than a brother' {Proverbs 18:24}.

      Thank You, Lord!

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  9. What gifts! Feeling safe. Heard. Understood. Accepted. Loved. And loving in return. Sometimes the path to accepting myself culminates when I trust revealing who I am and how I feel to another soul. For me, a lifelong process. Blessings and love.

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    1. Thanks for the reminder that cultivating and leaning into trusting relationships takes more than 10 minutes or a 1-2-3 wave of a magic wand.

      Recovering from the breaking of that trust is a hard hill to climb. Gratefully, God accompanies us each step of the way.

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  10. I recently did a funeral for a man from our community. He was a Christ-follower which I was able to highlight but since others knew him better than I did I asked some of this closest friends what stood out to them. One of the common comments among all of them and others (by way of shaking heads when I said it) was that he was always present. When you were with him he was not on his phone or fiddling with something or watching TV. When you were with him he was with you. I see that as a picture of my time with the Father. He is present.

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    1. That's who I want to be. And it will only be by God's grace.

      More than once the Spirit has reminded me to step away from a screen when connecting with someone on the phone. It's hard to be fully present when technology is holding us hostage.

      I'm appreciating your reminder that God is always present, all the time. Thanks, Bill.

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  11. The gift of truly being present to another soul…may I be present is my prayer. Thank you Linda!

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  12. One of your best posts ever, Linda. Yes, being present.
    Blessings!

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    1. Lulu, thanks for that encouragement today. It means alot.

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  13. Whew! This is powerful! I have been blessed to be on the receiving end and to be able to share Holy Spirit with others. Thank you for your words today.

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    1. You're so right, Mary, either way, on the giving or receiving end, we are blessed indeed as we experience the Spirit doing His healing work.

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  14. Thank you Linda for this beautiful post. You're writing always inspires me.

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    1. Regina, thanks for letting me know there's something here of value for you. May Jesus Christ be praised!

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  15. I am lucky to live within the gift of presence and it is a remarkable one.

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    1. Remarkable is the perfect word. Blessed indeed.

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  16. To be heard...what a gift indeed. And priceless beyond rubies!

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  17. This is so beautiful, Linda. First I thought you were talking to Jesus as if He was sitting in the other chair, then I realized you were talking to your husband who was being Jesus to you. Such a blessing indeed to feel "validated. Heard. Safe to be myself, all kinds of messy, imperfect, and flawed." Thank you for sharing, my friend. Love and blessings to you!

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    1. No one understands us like Jesus. No earthly person even comes close.

      But it's sure nice when someone cares enough to try.

      Won't it be wonderful when we'll see the Lover of our souls face to face!

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  18. This is a beautiful picture of love.

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  19. Having been on the receiving end of loving, attentive presence and appreciating it greatly, I try to give this rare gift to others. Sometimes I succeed better than others! But there is joy and blessing in ministering to another just by listening and demonstrating compassion. A quick prayer as the other person begins helps too.

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    1. You're so right, Nancy. Sometimes we do better than others. And that's ok, too.

      Thanks for taking us to prayer.

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  20. Being fully present with each other is what this world needs now more than ever. I give this precious gift to others as often as I can and I ask others to give it to me. For example, if I'm on the phone talking to someone and their TV is loud, I ask them to turn it down because I won't compete with it or I end the call. Thanks for reminding us to be present with each other.

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    1. What you're saying is so vital, Yvonne ... no one has a crystal ball, no one can read minds. For some reason we expect people to just 'know' what we need and that's not going to happen.

      I've learned that the hard way.

      So glad you're here this morning. Your wisdom is the icing on the cake!

      🍰

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  21. It is a beautiful and rare gift, "The gift of fully being present to another soul. It's a rare offering indeed. You know when you're on the receiving end. And when you're not." I'm so glad you were "validated. Heard. Safe to be myself, all kinds of messy, imperfect, and flawed." A beautiful gift indeed!

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  22. What a precious moment. Listening with the heart! I think all of us desire more of this.

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  23. This is beautiful, Linda. When we have these moments of true gifts of presence, they are priceless.

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    1. We need more of them, especially in this season, don't we, friend 😉 ...

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  24. Linda, this is beautiful. Such a perfect picture of presence, the greatest gift we can give to someone who is hurting. I love giving this gift! Sadly, I don't receive it as often as I need, but then there is One who always gives me the gift of His Presence.

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    1. Donna, you've said it well. Only Jesus meets those deepest needs. And I'd like to think He gives us a double portion of that sacred presence when it's lacking here on earth.

      Thank you for your heartfelt words this evening, friend 💌.

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  25. This is so beautiful, Linda. The gift of presence is something we all crave. Just being and knowing we're heard and accepted. I'm blessed to have a husband who is GOOD at giving me the gift of presence. We have more and more dinners now that are just the two of us. We've had many opportunities to talk about what's on our hearts, to hear and to be heard. This is a gift.

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    1. Your post today was so personal and timely. Thanks for that nudge toward calming conflict. If ever we needed to read your wise words, it's right about now.

      https://jeannetakenaka.com/10-how-tos-calming-conflict-with-those-we-love/

      Bless you, friend.

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  26. Oh, I love this post. Don't we all long for the gift of presence? Thank you for the reminder of how valuable it is--and that we can GIVE it as well as receive it.

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I'm featuring you this week!

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