Being Present Is Simpler Than You Think
I make it a habit to ask anyone I come in contact with a simple question. Whether in a store, on the street, getting gas at my local gas station, etc. when the opportunity presents itself I always ask, “How’s your day?” Most respond surprised and with a simple answer like “It’s ok.”, “Not bad.” or “Good, work is almost over.” It’s a way to help me be more present and notice the person in front of me. I don’t believe in coincidence so I will say God caused my path to cross with a man yesterday who until then, was a complete stranger. As I looked into his eyes I felt prompted to ask a simple question, “How’s your summer been so far?” I expected to hear one of the typical answers of, too short, too hot, too busy, but not this time. He looked up at me with the saddest eyes and said, “Not good, not good at all.” I was taken aback but quickly replied, “Oh, what’s happening?” Without hesitating he answered, “My wife is on hospice and is going to die any day now.” I was blown away and in that moment I understood how profoundly important it is to be present to this man. I looked deep into his eyes and said, “I am so very sorry. Truly sorry for your loss.” It’s as if time stood still for a brief moment. I reached out to take his hand and he reached back with both hands. I held his hands in mine and simply looked at him. No words were necessary. It was a moment of deeper connection that I speak about all the time. Had I been lost in thoughts of anxiety, worry, doubt or judgment about something else, I would have missed it completely. Consolation, connection and a sincere smile is what he needed and what I needed to share. That was a moment of being present to the Presence of God I hope I never forget. What did the moment require? Me. Looking at the person in front of me. Seeing him. Engaging him. Listening to him. Reaching out, bringing a simple word of consolation and silently praying for him. God happens when we least expect God to show up.
Transformation happens in the ordinary moments. If you string together enough of those moments through the simple way of seeing, listening, reaching out, connecting and praying you will experience the peace and contentment you long for through the life-giving, life-changing Presence of God.