Sharing the Wisdom: What I Learned from a Friend About the Gift of Presence

I can’t keep in mind precisely after we met her. We had arrived in the snowy tundra in January of my fifth-grade 12 months. I realize it was after the permafrost had thawed, and it was after “mud season,” as a result of she was sporting excessive heels as she stood there, not mud boots.

It had been a onerous winter. The transition to the sleepy city of two stoplights was not a straightforward one for our household. We had been far from our households, our tradition was completely different, our meals had been completely different, and all the pieces about us simply appeared so—completely different. We longed for neighborhood and connection.

Then, like a breath of contemporary air, Margie confirmed up at the again door. A tiny girl, her heat eyes crinkled at the corners as she smiled. Her completely accomplished nails and make-up belied the hours she spent digging and pulling weeds in her backyard. Only her giant knuckles and hardened palms gave trace of her days of felling timber and hauling lumber.

My mom invited her to have a seat at one of the tall stools at the counter by the again door. Over a cup of tea, they sat and talked, and sat, and talked, and laughed. And so started the day by day ritual.

Every day, after an hour or so of visiting, Margie would arise from her stool and say in her gravelly voice, “OK, honey, I’ve got to get goin’,” guaranteeing that one other half-hour of dialog would ensue as she she lingered between the again door and the porch. Finally, she would hurriedly hug us all, hop into her automobile, and wave as she backed down the driveway. With one ultimate honk of the horn, she could be off to her subsequent go to. She was all the time on the go.

Over the a long time, Margie’s joyful presence warmed our hearts and our residence. Although she had six youngsters and dozens of grandchildren of her personal, she discovered the time to incorporate us, her adopted household, in her days. Her presence was dependable and reassuring as we discovered our floor and blossomed on this new place. Her chats weren’t all “daisies and butterflies,” although. As she sat at that counter, she would additionally gently dole out smart counsel earned over a lifetime of joys and hardships. She had recognized wrestle and she or he had recognized loss, but she wasn’t hardened by it. She was robust as leather-based however tender of coronary heart. When my mom would share her issues along with her, Margie would ponder them in prayer and by the subsequent day would have a resolution in thoughts. Indeed, nothing might shake her. Jesus was her mainstay, and she or he might see heaven as clearly as the home subsequent door.

Margie’s most beneficial reward to us was her loving presence. As I listened to Pope Francis’s 2019 New Year’s homily, his phrases about the Blessed Mother jogged my memory of Margie: “Mary is a cure for solitude and dispersion. She is the Mother of con-solation: she stands ‘with’ those who are ‘alone’. She knows that words are not enough to console; presence is needed, and she is present as a mother.” Like the Blessed Mother, Margie knew that phrases weren’t sufficient—we wanted her there with us.

Today, I attempt to keep in mind Margie’s instance. Just to take a seat and be current with one other seems so easy, however it’s, in actual fact, fairly onerous to do. In our frenetically paced society, full of to-do lists and deadlines, it appears a lot simpler to finish some concrete, time-limited good deed—to do one thing. Sometimes, that which we’re referred to as to do, although, is settling down and easily being current in physique, thoughts, and spirit. The means to be with one other is a very particular reward.

Editor’s Note: This week right here at, we’re sharing tales of knowledge discovered from our elders, in honor of Sharing the Wisdom of Time by Pope Francis and Friends. The guide impressed the Netflix collection Stories of a Generation with Pope Francis.

Order copies now at the particular worth of $14.98—50% off the cowl worth of this award-winning guide.

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