Monday, July 27, 2015

The Gift of Presence

Look who showed up at my birthday party this weekend:

Yes! It is Flower Bear herself, or, rather, Flower Bear immortalized as a chocolate birthday cake! My oldest granddaughter, Courtney, is so talented and creative. I was almost sad to have to cut into her but since I knew there was chocolate hidden under her hat and dress, I relented. Anyway, the real one graces my home and teaches me about love (and gardening) each and every day:

I asked Courtney how she managed to create this wonderful gift and she produced pictures she took along the way during the baking, construction and decorating. It took so much patience, focus and creativity to do this. I remember watching her when she was little and she would rummage through the "junk drawer" (we all have one), looking for a piece of this, a bit of that, some string, yarn, paper, glue, crayons, what have you, and sit with the presence and focus of Michelangelo. When she was finished, there would be a horse made out of a step-stool, or flowers made out of straws and string, or a hundred other wonderful presents that she made me over the years. She made my "presents" by using her gift of "presence."

We are so busy these days that multi-tasking has become a religion all its own. Technology was supposed to make our lives easier, but instead it has just given us another way to try and accomplish a dozens things at once, and not one of them would give us the same sense of wholeness that giving all of ourselves to one task, and completing it to the best of our abilities, would give. This is even truer if we apply it to our relationships. How present are we with our children? Our partners? Our friends? After a long day at work, how present are we while we're trying to get dinner on the table, catch up on messages, checking our calendars for which commitments we made for the weekend, while our kids are in their rooms with their heads glued to iPhones or laptops? The greatest gift we can give to ourselves and each other is the gift of our being completely present in each and every thing we do. You would be amazed to discover how much you've missed by rushing just to get something done and not taking the time to truly see what was in front of you and all around you. You can just weed a garden, or you can experience a garden. It's a whole different ball game.

As for Flower Bear, we all took pictures to share with family and friends who could not be there, and then we took off her lace collar and sliced into her chocolate goodness. As always, she had another lesson in love and relationships to teach us that day, as she does every day, and I, for one, am forever grateful for her presence in my life.

And so it is.