I want to thank the staff of Kalida Elementary School for the saying they had on the sign in front of their school during most of the Christmas season. It read: “Your presence is the best present you can give.” In our world of hustle and bustle, it is a truth we can all take to heart.
So often, we tend to be going somewhere, not being somewhere. We tend to be getting something done so we can get onto the next thing that we are already thinking about, not doing something. We tend not to be truly listening to what another is saying but waiting to get in our two cents.
Buddhism has a good term for this presence. They call it “mindfulness,” to be fully and consciously present to this particular moment in my life, with all its individual uniqueness. We are relational beings, and the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives. Our ability to be fully present to another will determine the quality of our relationships.
There is a deeper reason for wanting to practice this sort of presence or mindfulness. It is in the current moment that we encounter God. God is always fully and intimately present to each one of us. We, however, frequently tend to be away somewhere. We are to be the human presence of God’s love in the little part of the world that we inhabit. Mindfulness, being fully present to another, to a given situation, will be a great help in doing that.
On a lighter note, my wife has a sign on our refrigerator door that makes a point. Two people are out strolling, and one says to the other: “Mindfulness would be lot easier if I didn’t have mindfulmess.”