Presence is …

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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.