My downtown office window overlooks a cemetery. I’m drawn to the beauty of its old, sprawling oaks and oversized, granite headstones. Each tower is a timeless tribute to a life once present and thriving.
Hardly a day goes by that a glance overlooking the walking paths doesn’t reveal visitors. Some yearning for just one more moment. Some sorrowfully making up for moments never cherished. Others finding solace in sharing private details of moments now lived apart. All longing for the gift of presence.
We were created for presence.
We were fashioned out of a desire for fellowship and companionship. We were designed to inhabit and occupy and be. Yet, too often the very gift of presence is only treasured when it no longer exists.
I remember him every year at this time. His face flashes through my memory along with the echo of giggles exchanged between boys casting their bread ball hooks into the lake, hoping for bass but satisfied with carp. I also remember the wrenching grief no mother should ever experience. The kind that destroys hope and bottles up a soul tight for a lifetime.
He would be the same age as my boy, and although the years have become a decade long, the memories lie fresh. We talk of him ever so often. I want those endless days to be marked by “remember when.” I want this boy of mine to grasp the meaning of even a short daydream of presence. Because it all matters, and it’s all a gift.
In the flurry of his day, I want him to remember that presence isn’t defined by space or time or distance. It isn’t bound by rules or explained in “how-to’s.” And you won’t find it listed beneath any “to-do’s.”
Presence ebbs and flows out of a desire to simply “be.”
In all our coming and going, it’s the sum of what God really wants for each of us — to be in His presence and Him to be with us. He knows this gift will nourish and breathe life into our souls where no earthly doing can. In the numbering of all our days, He yearns for us to catch a glimpse of the holy lavishness of this gift of presence.
Where we can be emptied of regret and filled with hope.
Where we can be released of sorrow and comforted in love.
Where we can be freed from striving and bask in enough.
How can we ever fully grasp the gift of His eternal presence if we don’t make time for His earthly presence now?
A vine-wrapped stone archway frames the iron entrance to the cemetery. All are welcome to enter and encouraged to rest and be. And even through a closed window, I hear his shepherding voice. His message echoes across my heart.
He reminds me of those sacred moments of time spent in Him and with Him. There is no judgment and no record of missed companionship. There’s only a glimmer in His eye as I catch His glance. His smile melts away my excuses, and His arms envelope me in joy.
He whispers His unwavering love into my soul.
This gift of His presence flows through every one of my busy moments, stilling my lists and erasing my to-do’s.
In the quiet, inhabiting moment, I hear His words . . . “Remember when?”
And this is all I want — to remember, to rest, and to be still in His presence.