Presence over production

January 19, 2011

I’ve noticed my life slowing down to a crawl lately. Well, not
probably a crawl by any stretch of the means, but a crawl for me. I am
reading less and producing less than I did before. I think it’s because
we have a three month old…

I’m such a task oriented person that it’s hard to bite the bullet and
just be present sometimes. I am enjoying a lot more unscripted,
unplanned, free time, which we spend hanging out on the floor playing
with toys and listening to music. It’s lots of laughing and talking and
spitting up. I am content to pass the winter nights with a cup of tea in
one hand, a baby sitting next to me and a leisurely book read…

It’s just that there is a voice in my head telling me that I am not
doing enough at a quick enough pace. I tend to read and write at a
frenetic pace if given the space—that is my production. Now I am having
to learn to tune down the voice in my head telling me to move on from
one thing to the next and just be present. It’s the constant call of
acedia to a general state of restlessness when I am being called to slow
down and be present instead of being a producer.

What are some ways you have found to be more present and less of a producer?

Originally posted at Everyday Liturgy.


Being Present IS Producing

If more of us were honest with ourselves and with others, we would acknowledge some of the same personal angst that I hear in your post. Here is my view--we are always producing. It may be tangible or it may not. The results may be achieved now, or we might have to wait. We might know what the results will be, or they may come as a complete surprise. Make no mistake about it, though. Our presence produces.

Some dear friends recently moved to a new community. I have always viewed them as "movers and shakers," whether with youth groups, Red Cross shelters, construction projects, faith building retreats, or anything else. They are truly blessed and used by God to build His kingdom here and now. At their going away party, one of them surprised my wife and me when they thanked us for getting them started. They had attended a Sunday school class that we had organized. It was a new class. It struggled for a while. There were many weeks when it seemed to be a complete waste of time. Yet it had been the springboard for these people who had gone on to lead and inspire literally hundreds of other people in our congregation and the community to active service. I can name several other couples from that class (and other classes) who grew the same way. In each instance, they have said they never would have taken their big leaps unless we had been there for some of the first steps. We were there. That was all.

You need to be there, too. For your child. For those first steps. To encourage and to nurture. To praise and rejoice. Your presence will produce, whether you know it today or not.

Today your presence is planting something, so be sure to plant what you want to produce. If your presence is reliable, it will produce reliable fruit. If your presence is joyful, it will produce joyful fruit. I could go on, but I think you get the drift.

God bless you on your journey. Follow the path.