ContemplAgeing

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The Present of Presence

On Christmas morning I awoke earlier than my wife, Pamela. The advertising bombardment had quieted, and I was feeling a deep sense of peace and gratitude for my life and for life. For a number of years now Pamela and I have not rushed around trying to find and buy each other the perfect Christmas gift. This has helped to avoid the kind of pre-Christmas stress that I hear about in my therapy sessions, a stress that compromises the real point of the season.

 In that moment I felt that I had all I needed though I had not added to my possessions. At that moment I recalled my father’s often repeated words, “There’ll always be enough,” though, at times, while growing up, there was very little by way of money, and frugality was essential.

 Two weekends before Christmas, I facilitated a “Day of Reflection” for a Catholic women’s religious order in Albany, NY. Most of the sisters were retired and nearing the ends of their lives. The weekend was intended as an Advent meditation-contemplation and preparation for Christmas. What I realized was that the weekend gave me at least as much as I hope it gave to the community of sisters.

 During that weekend, as I sat with this group, some words came into my mind and heart, “The Present of Presence.” The words stuck and took hold of me, and I found myself repeating them, meditatively.  Each meditative repetition of the words, “The Present of Presence,” deepened my appreciation and enhanced a profound awareness of “presence.”

 Christmas morning, I walked back into our bedroom, laid next to my wife, and said, “You are my present of presence—THE present of presents!” We held each other and lapsed into a silence that embraced and comforted us.

Posted in agingGratitudespiritual issuesspirituality on 28 December 2010
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