being here, now
My goddaughter Leah has been a remarkable blessing to me over the years. Now almost 18, this young woman is so dear to my heart. When I think about what specifically she brings, I always come back to the word presence.
Leah is wonderful at being present. Uncomplicated and un-dramatic, she blesses all the people who know her by being with them, warmly and fully, and not being somewhere else. (The picture here is hers, from a photography class she took here at the Guild).
This past week I met with about 30 other seekers at the Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, part of a program called Leadership in the New Parish. Thirty people wanting to share, listen & learn about being present to our neighborhoods. Something so simple seems a bit strange to require a year-long, distance-learning course at an academic environment which is not in our neighborhoods. And yet we all find ourselves needing the support and accountability to think differently, and more importantly, to live differently in the places God has put us.
How many times do we walk the familiar roads, visit the familiar shops, and see the familiar faces in our neighborhoods…yet not really see, hear or touch them?
How we keep our eyes downcast and our ear buds in?
How we disassociate with certain people & places that are uncomfortable to us?
Much of what we do at the Guild is to break these patterns, to take the time to listen, create and just be for one another. It’s easier to do here, for some reason. The art, culture and environment is more conducive to it. It seems far more difficult to extend that grace of presence to the people and places we encounter elsewhere in the business of life.
It is our prayer that those who experience presence at the Guild can bring a little bit home with them. And it is my prayer that I can bring a little bit of that presence to my home, my neighborhood…like Jesus, through people like Leah, bring to me.