The Gift of Presence
Go out into the world today and love the people you meet.
Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.
During the next few days we will be spending a lot of time with the special people in our lives and most probably sharing a Christmas present with them. Unfortunately in today's world finding the right gift for those who have so much becomes the main focus. I think the real benefit of seeking the perfect gift is their being present to us in that moment as we attempt to make the perfect selection for them.
If I were asked the question of what we gave to the grandchildren three years ago I honestly could not remember one single gift we gave to the eight of them. I feel confident they would also not remember. I do remember their presence when opening their gifts and Jeanne asked “Where is Pops?” Then there’s this loud crashing noise. The wrapping paper from a large number of gifts was thrown in the foyer. I slipped on the paper, and ended up under this huge pile of paper. I got up, not aware there was also a video camera on a tripod capturing the gifts being opened. That video is now a priceless treasure. It was played over and over later during the day amid roars of laughter. That memory of the presence of the family and heart-warming laughter will last a lifetime.
Coming from a family of maternal and paternal grandparents with very limited financial resources, I remember the most expensive gift I received from my paternal grandfather at a very young age. It was given to me 72 years ago. I still have it today. It is a child’s rocking chair. Following that one gift every year it was always a crisp new dollar bill. As I write this posting I can still see the smile on his face as all the grandchildren lined up on Christmas Eve to get their dollar. It is his presence, his generous spirit that has lasted a lifetime. I also remember getting my very first bike from my maternal grandmother. She spoiled me immeasurably with love and attention but I remember receiving only one gift each year from her and it was for Christmas.
We all have a need to be appreciated and loved for the person that we are. At times compliments of who I am and what I do are important to me. The most significant thing I value in my senior years is being valued for my presence. I am uplifted by the connection that is made with another person, by their listening to me and being present to me in that moment. I also feel connected by a warming of my heart when I hear other people’s stories about themselves, their dreams and aspirations in living life to the fullest.
Our grandchildren have been blessed with much love and gifts each Christmas. We started a tradition since the birth of the first grandchild to adopt a less fortunate family each year for Christmas. This gives them an opportunity to focus on what other people may need and not just on what they want for themselves.
During the next few days you may want to focus on what gift of presence you can give to your family and friends over the Christmas Holiday Season.
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