“He came looking for me just to see how I was. He didn’t even want anything from me. He just wanted to care about me. It was like a little miracle.”
These words out of my dear friend’s mouth reminded me of the importance of being present. Her little miracle was that someone simply wanted to check on her, no strings attached. As she went on to describe this interaction, I was struck by how moved she was by it. At one point she threw her teared stained head back and said, “it felt SO good”.
I imagine we can all relate. I know how important it is to have a friend reach out to ask how I am, and how lonely it can be if no one does. We have an innate need to connect as creatures built for community. I think about relational poverty a lot, and am more convinced than ever that material poverty will never be eradicated unless we look at the holistic needs of people.
Years ago a relative newcomer to The Dale angrily disappeared for a number of weeks. We were worried about him and so three of us went to his place, knocked on the door repeatedly, and finally resorted to throwing rocks at his third floor window. We didn’t find him that day, but he caught wind of our effort and to this day talks about it. I’m certain it was the turning point in our relationship. He began to trust he was valued and has since grown in so many different ways as a result.
Being present is not always easy. I often fail at it. And sometimes because of my own insecurities I retreat, making being present even more difficult. But I’m aware that the moments of deepest connection come when I take a risk and ask someone how they really are, and conversely when someone asks me how I really am and I dare to tell them. Like my two friends I’ve described here, it’s enough to make me feel valued and as though I can grow and change. It feels “so good”.