The Power of Presence

“One day Joshu fell down and called out, ‘Help me! Help me up!’ A monk came and lay down beside him. Joshu got up and went away.” – Zen Story

There is a lot of devastation with the fires in our area. People have lost homes, livelihoods, cherished memories, and much more. The outpouring of financial assistance and donations has been amazing. Many of us have helped in whatever way we can. However, it can seem like there is more to do or more to give. Oftentimes, this is accompanied with the concern of what else can I do?

Sometimes people need help to solve problems or fix a solution. However, more often, people need someone to sit with them and listen. It is amazing how often just showing up and being there makes a huge difference. This is especially key when there are so many conflicting emotions at play in what has happened. A person may feel guilty because they are upset because their property is ruined, but thankful their house was saved, when next door their neighbor’s house was lost.

These are normal reactions and take time sorting through. Being there for someone when they are trying to sort through them is a wonderful and rare gift. Tom Owen-Towle says, “The word ‘comfort’ literally means placing our strength next to the weakness of another person, sometimes actually lying down beside him or her…for however long it might take for restoration of either body or soul.”

That is the amazing power of presence and we all have the ability as well as capacity to be present to another person.

Peace & Grace,
Rev. Laura