The Gift of Presence

Page HinesWhen I was in seventh grade my friend’s mother was killed by a drunk driver in a horrific car accident. She and her three siblings lived across the street from me. I was at school the next day when I heard the news. Several of us gathered in the hallway between classes and tried to imagine the hurt our friend must have been feeling. We talked about the fear we assumed she had of knowing her mother was gone. Her mother and stepfather had recently been divorced and she never talked about her biological father, so we wondered who would take care of her. When I got home from school that day, I called my friend and asked if she wanted me to come over to talk. She said yes, so I went over to her house. My heart was in the right place. I wanted to be there for my friend. I wanted to make her feel better. I wanted her to not hurt. What I quickly experienced was the uncomfortableness of being with someone who is hurting. I was just there. Unable to make her hurt go away. What my friend needed was for me to simply sit with her. To be present without really saying anything. There was nothing that I could say that would make things better or fix things or change what she was feeling. Just being with someone — simply being present in the midst of someone’s pain or hurt — is hard and often makes us feel very uncomfortable.

Being with someone — being present — in the midst of the ugliness of life is an amazing gift we can give to someone when we are open to seeing past the uneasiness it might make us feel.

We all have the gift of presence to give when we are able to overcome our fears. Granted, this isn’t easy. It can be heartbreaking — like it broke my heart to just be with my friend. It can also be unbelievably heartwarming to be that person for someone you care about.

Please join us this Sunday in DiscipleChurch as we look at what often holds us back from extending our own gift of presence and what an amazing gift we can give and receive when we are willing to tread into the uncomfortable and be a gift of presence to another.

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