I’ve been in several situations lately where I’ve noticed the power of presence. Nothing is necessarily said, but something is communicated by a person’s presence.
At an event I was at earlier this month the tension in the room was thick among those who had something “on the line” and had noted some mistakes that were being made and nothing was being done about it. Awkward and frustrating.
At school, an adult’s simple presence can both empower or straighten them out very quickly. Especially if you’re using “the eye”. I’ve become quite good at that, by the way. I’ve had it written in evaluations. hahaha.
As someone who has been living within the center of the church for most of my life, it’s easy notice the presence of people even more. You are more conscientious of people, who they are, their interactions with others and with you, etc. Noting it can be either helpful or harmful depending on the person. It can be helpful when you know where their heart is. All they have to do is be there and you know they’re supporting you whether they say a word or not. A person’s presence can be harmful in two ways. Of course if they’re very vocal and share words that break down instead of build up, but even more harmful is if they are present and LATER ON open their mouth behind your back. How very damaging.
Well, you don’t even have to be in any particular position within the church (staff or volunteer) to notice the presence people have in church – first time visitors and those who shy away from the church will immediately notice everyone’s presence when they enter a church. That should be some motivation to make sure we are presenting our best and being genuine when we are at church or outside the church. Living for God on the weekends and for the world during the week doesn’t work, especially if someone notices you at church and then sees you later in the week living a completely different way.
This weekend I was gauging the presence stuff again in several situations and the funny thing was, I wasn’t doing it for myself. I’ll go wherever I need to be for my parents. I was gauging it in relation to them. And it was pretty good.
The above applies to friends very easily as well. For me, I observe a lot and I tend to be the person who shows up for friends and family, but might not say a lot in a particular situation. I’m the person that will still show up even if they are tired and will take time to think about what I could do for that person that would be most helpful or meaningful for them (ie. picking up some food to bring, bringing a particular game). Sometime that also makes me a bit late because I’m spending so much time thinking through how I could best serve that person. I like being able to give my time to people whether it is being able to actually physically do something for them or just be there supporting them.
Anyway, this is now a real mish mash of thoughts and isn’t really organized all that well and I’ve got laundry to do, so I’m going to stop this before it gets worse. I have a post about going down the elevator coming up. Ponder…