Presents verses Presence
By: Lianne Johnson
Thinking back on my own separation and ultimate divorce I realize I needed people to offer me both presents and presence.
As I look back to these hards years for me I remember that I was unable to “give” anything to others. If a friend was in crisis I had no energy left to offer a meal, take her kids and give her a break, run errands for her, or just sit with her, etc. I had nothing to offer because I was trying to get through my own day – get the kids ready for school, remember to pack their lunches, remember what time school actually started so they were on time, get to work and make sure to shower since I hadn’t in days, oh and then I needed to feed them dinner at the end of the day. It took all of my energy to get done the mundane, everyday, habitual tasks that were before me as a newly single mother who was (and still am) in the midst of trying to make sense of my new life situation and heal.
As I look back on this season of my life when I was in crisis – being separated for a year and a half and then divorcing, coming to grips with the reality of things that had taken place, I was broken.
I realize now that I needed two types of people during my own crisis – those who offered “presents” and those who offered their “presence.”
By “presents” I mean people who could offer me help with – food, errands, my kids, dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc. Sadly, when I was in my crisis I was unable to function. Perhaps you have experienced something like this yourself. Life moved slower then it ever had before. It was like my life had become a movie put on pause but then someone pushed play, but it was slow play. You know, when the movie still plays but the frames move slower…and for about a year or so my engagement with life was s…l…o…w.