The Faithful Fools’ mission statement begins, “We are called to a ministry of presence.” At first, I had little idea what presence even meant. Over time, I find myself discovering more aspects of presence and why it matters.
Presence is …
listening to another;
listening more deeply with a closed mouth and an open body;
showing up and being in a space;
walking together in silence or in conversation;
paying quiet attention while someone interviews a doctor;
being a barrier as someone changes their soiled clothes at a bus shelter;
finding a story beneath someone’s insults through which humor can show real connection;
holding judgements and expectations with a lightness;
hearing a question or statement that seems silly, and recognizing it requires no correction;
remaining calm with an open heart and child-like mind, especially in times of elevated emotions;
experiencing pain, sadness, or a headache, but staying with it rather than seeking refuge;
feeling past trauma in one’s body, yet feeling secure to observe and explore;
feeling heard, whole, and healed;
offering immersive attention;
hearing and accepting another’s experience;
truly caring about what someone chooses to share;
respecting one’s and others’ boundaries, while seeking to recognize and dismantle barriers that separate us;
both a way of being and an exhausting practice.
Presence is opening oneself to what can be, without knowing what that may be.