“The Priceless Gift of Your Presence”

No out-of-body experience. Simply checked out mentally and somewhat emotionally. Obsessed with trying to check off all the boxes that life seemed to have “mysteriously” vanished unnoticed. How did it come to this? How did we let this happen?

I have mistakenly filled up all those open slots in my daily calendar with more projects and ‘necessary things to do.’ The contrast struck me wildly during the initial quarantine of 2020. With the restrictions placed on places to go, I found that I reclaimed any travel time with busyness. I used what would have been great opportunities for calm, relax (I don’t think I could spell that word for sixteen months) and reflection to simply newer endeavors.

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As GOD would have it, He Whispered about my attitude and agenda and how they had become the focal point of all existence. He shined a spotlight on past murmurs of, “I wish I had time to do a deeper study in ….” “I’d gladly read those books if I had the chance …” I’d contribute more effort in this part of ministry if time were on my side …”

And then the big boulder rolled onto me.

Engagement with those around me. What about the people in my midst? Don’t they have more value and priority than the grind of the day?

Effective communication becomes a lost art … almost ancient history, if you will … because of the constant distractions of technological advancement and new digital toys. Phones get smarter as people become more reliant on the intuitiveness and auto-correct features. Emojis are more interactive while we casually slip away from formulating actual sentences.

Lisa Harper describes the hardcopy of a Bible as the ‘brick ‘n’ mortar’ version versus the types with on and off switches. I like that analogy because it causes me to think of how we are meant to build this Church upon the foundation of the Word. There’s just something sweet about the sound of pages turning …

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We simply don’t use our minds and voices to speak and express thought and emotion. Honestly, we seem to detach even while being in the room with several people. Our presence is barely noticeable because we’re always looking at a screen of some sort.

With the next anticipated comment or dinging notification, our minds are wandering off into another galaxy as readily as we swipe left. If all these accessories were to be confiscated without warning, how would we interact with each other?

We’ve come this far … to have walked several steps backwards.

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who whose eyes were glued to a screen the size of their palm? It changes the trajectory of relationships to say the least.

How do we get back to where we truly should be? Do we keep going at this pace with these objects (of desire) and remain more plugged into them than each other? I dare say that our connectivity is redefined and owned by our ISP (internet service provider). We’re losing ground on those we love and would dearly miss if they were no longer in our lives.

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I”m not bashing technological advancement by any means. The strides we’ve made have helped many of us make it through that initial quarantine period. Some of us experienced our final goodbyes to loved ones because of the accessibility of cyberspace.

Perhaps taking a step back to view our value of these precious relationships would give us a better perspective of how things may need to be adjusted. Jesus modeled such a simplistic way of relating to others. He spoke. He spent time with them. He tended to their needs. He listened. He showed us how the Father intended for us to live with others.

Showing love for others before our to-do lists requires that we prioritize them. Laying down our lives can sometimes look like allowing for those uninvited interruptions to have meaning for the one vying for your attention.

Let’s remember that love is something we do — not something we feel.

You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, Philippians 2:5 NET

No one has ever seen God. God’s only Son, the one who is closest to the Father’s heart, has made him known. John 1:18 GWT

To have the gift of someone’s presence should cause us to celebrate.

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. James 4:14 NLT

Having spent a month of being full-time caregiver to my father before his passing into the Arms of Jesus, I can testify to the impact of being present. Slowing down to listen and understand. Taking a few extra moments to reminisce, laugh and smile. These treasured moments are held in a special place in my heart and mind until I can see him again.

Maybe you have experienced something similar. As we have ‘opened up’ to a new normal of sorts, let us not forget what we vowed in our places of sorrow. It’s far too easy to jump back into the fast lane of numbing ourselves with activity.

“What ways have you made adjustments to being present in the moment with others?”

Join me as we make the conscious effort to show and express to others the love that we have for them by using our spoken words. If we have to re-learn how to do this, then so be it. Memories are made in the moments. Relationships are fragile and should be handled with care.

Wrapped packages and tokens of appreciation bear a tangible price tag. But the gift of your presence — that’s priceless!

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary

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