Sunday, October 28, 2012

Presence vs. Presents

Presence vs. Presents

We’re obsessed with giving and receiving presents, in our society.  Birthdays, holidays, significant milestones, etc.  We have so many opportunities (or obligations, depending on our outlook at the time) for presents. 
Recently I was asked to name the “best birthday present I have ever received.”  As I thought about my answer to this question, I had trouble choosing that one “best present” I have ever received. 
This struck me as odd and a bit unusual, considering I’ve been blessed with 33 birthdays, and I’ve received presents for each one of them…yet I couldn’t really think of any one present that I would call, “the best present”.
What immediately came to mind were birthday parties my family held for my sister and me, at our house when we were very young.  My birthday is August 16th and my sister’s is August 5th, and that meant that every year we would celebrate our birthdays together. 
I remember those parties like they were just yesterday.  Aunts, Uncles, cousins, both sets of grandparents, our great-grandmother, and of course my mom, dad, and sister were all there.  We opened many, many presents, but what I remember…over 20 years later…is the presence of family.   

Sure the attention may have been on my sister and me, because it was our birthday, but beyond that, I have a crystal clear memory of family members engaged in conversation, laughing, and enjoying each other.  

The presents were cool and fun, but the fact that everyone was there, together, made me happy. 
What about in our relationships at work, in the community, or perhaps even with our own family members at home?  We often go through the motions here and there…but are we really “there” or “here” for them?   

They’re talking, sharing, and reaching out to us…but are we really listening?  Are we present? 
So often we’re consumed with our own troubles, worries, doubts, To Do’s, and “stuff”.  We shop around, buying presents for family members, staff, teammates, leaders, etc…we forget that what may very well mean the most to them is our presence, not the presents.  
Be present, in the now…today…and the OneMoreStep that can make a positive difference for people is our conscientious presence in the conversation… 

Right now…with a genuine interest in them, their concerns, their issues, their needs, and their situation…and asking how we can help.
Have a great day.

Two for the road...

I follow Andy Stanley, Lead Pastor at Northpoint Church in Atlanta.  Back in August, he did a six part series on family, entitled, Future Family.  Andy is a great teacher, excellent pastor, and his messages are both educational and touching.  I love them, follow them, watch them, and rewatch them frequently.  

If interested, we wanted to share this series with you, as it fits perfectly well with this topic of "presence of family" and asking "how can I help".


And speaking of birthdays, Happy Birthday to my dear old Dad...celebrating one more trip around the sun, tomorrow, Oct. 29th.  Thanks for teaching me, coaching me, supporting me, inspiring me, loving me, and encouraging me.  Your presence then and now, keeps me going OneMoreStep every single day...Happy Birthday!

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