Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Gift of Presence

I am a relational person. I thrive on good relationships in my life and can, at times, focus too much on struggling relationships. I spend a good deal of time reflecting on the condition of all the relationships in my life. What is the purpose of this one? Where is that friendship headed? Is the chapter in this relationship ending or are we closing the book altogether? Why does this relationship encourage me so much? What can I do to improve that one? I think it's important to continually reflect on relationships and work to make them what they should be. Not every relationship is a forever relationship but some are truly meant to be. I believe that marriage is meant to be, though I'm not seeking to convince anyone of that. And I definitely think that the relationships we, as parents, have with our children are meant to be forever relationships. Therefore, it's necessary to continually reflect on these relationships and seek to make them--and keep them--healthy and thriving.

One aspect of the relationships in my life that I've given much thought to as of late is presence. What I mean by this is, although it's very easy to be present, it's another thing to be fully, emotionally, and thoughtfully present and engaged. You know the saying, "You look like you're a million miles away." That's what I'm talking about! To truly be present in our relationships we can't be a million miles away; we need to be right here, right now. And that is something that has the potential to make any relationship incredibly fulfilling and rewarding!

I often talk to my husband about one of my favorite college courses which was Interpersonal Communication. I absolutely loved that class! I gained invaluable information and learned lessons for life. I guess if I had to sum up what I learned from that class in one word (which would be very difficult to do), I would say....presence. I'm sure it's a gift for some, a natural tendency for others, and a struggle for many. How do I become and remain present in the most important relationships of my life? Pretty sure I don't have all the answers to this question (and certainly there are many), but I do think it's something important to consider.

When I feel that whoever I am with or talking to is truly present, it does my heart good. The conversation need not be deep or even altogether thought-provoking. It's simply the gift of their presence that I desire. I find myself wanting to spend more time with people who are really there when I'm with them. When I see wandering or distracted eyes, far away stares (while I'm talking), or continual unresponsiveness, I don't wish to further the conversation. And, if this becomes a pattern, I really don't wish to further the relationship. I have not perfected this skill myself, but I am sure trying to improve upon it. In my life relationships, another person's presence, or lack thereof, truly affects me. And, if this is someone for whom I care a great deal, then it's a pretty lasting effect. I don't easily forget those feelings.

As I said before, I believe the relationships with our children are meant to be forever relationships. Children are like us. They want to experience the presence of other people in their lives, especially those important to them...their parents. Life is busy and complicated; sometimes our minds are drifting a million miles away. However, to our little ones and loved ones, our presence means the world. I watch my son's face just light up when his Dad sits next to him at dinner and puts his arm around him for a moment. I experience such joy when my little girl puts her lips to my cheek because she's glad I'm there....really there. Presence is a gift! Any parent can be present, but it is admirable and life-changing to be present. Imagine how fulfilling our lives will be when we strive to be present in our every relationship.

No comments:

Post a Comment