A Presence. . .all you can do. .

I am calling to touch base with you.  It has been too long since we chatted I said.  And after a surprised response she started and went on at great length finding her own equilibrium.  I could do nothing for her except be an ear to listen.  She called me the next day with gratitude because she said she was ready to puddle.  And there was no one to mop her up.

Another young friend would be facing an enormous decision the following week.  I was in a quandary about what to do and then realized I could only be an assistant.  I could not decide nor input any information.  I would plead ignorance on which I was an expert.  Unless asked,  there was no insight I could offer.  With today’s abundance of information,  there is too much in fact.  The brain can only handle so much since everyone is an expert in everything,  all I could do was stand by and catch the fall out.

Another body, another human is what is needed.  Just Presence.  Just being there is what is needed for the individual to stand and make their own decisions.  Just someone to listen to the garbage spilling forth and not stop loving them.  To take them in their frustration and to let it dissipate so the residue  does not kill them.   Just to be able to have a someone there who does not fall down will enable them to stand and do what they must.

I don’t have time for your drama a husband said and left his wife to handle the emotional conflict of the children.  Well, mister,  that is what earth life, physical life is all about.  Here we learn either to handle our emotions or gift them onto unsuspecting shoulders and watch our grandchildren fight the same battles.  Is this our desire?  To see the icons of past history smashed  by the frustration of generations of ancestors rising demanding restitution?  How better to spend your time than by listening to a soul in search of an ear to hear their lament?  Be the quiet symbol of peace.  Be the one who stands and gives Presence to allow the right thing to be done.  To Be may be the all we can do is the all we can do.

A Good Friend. . .

You stayed the night
while I lumbered my body
through a partition
closing me from life.

While I fought
through a sea of memories
holding me hostage
to long and lonely years.

You saw me through eye of tears
reflecting the hardness
mine needed to smelt with coals
being fired in a heart of no use.

But you stayed, close as my skin,
and had you pulled away
I would have understood.
You walk me yet and I stand.

My eyes have shed their steel casings,
now ground as dust beneath my heel.
I look inward to softer places
and find the world not so hard.

You tell me you need to stay close
because you wish to claim
my strength  if only by association,
but I ask,

of what heavenly use is a soft shell crab?

photo by
Joe Hallissey Sr.



2 responses to “A Presence. . .all you can do. .”

  1. We’re fast to lend a hand to help, but offering an ear to listen can often accomplish more.
    Listening through the night brightens the sunrise. Thank you for reminding us to be there.

  2. John, you have always been a faithful listener. Sometimes the only one! For that I am grateful !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *