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The Practice of Presence

What is good for mental health?

The practice of presence.

Sometimes life puts us in unexpected places, and today I find myself sitting in a hospital lobby. As I look around, I can’t help but notice the mix of emotions on people's faces - worry, fear, uncertainty.

It seems each person in this room is experiencing something unique and to a different degree. Yet, we are all here together, united by a common concern for our loved ones. Sitting here to support them through their pain, injury, disease or uncertainty.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane with his disciples, knowing that he will soon experience unimaginable pain, he takes Peter, James, and John aside and asks them to stay with him and keep watch while he prays i.e., stay in the lobby.

He tells them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

This moment connects us to Jesus’ humanity. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, and it might suggest the importance of seeking out others to help endure pain, disease, injury and mental health challenges. Mind you, those of us in this waiting room are not present in the operating rooms. Yet, it’s the knowing we’re here that seems to bring the support and comfort.

The practice of presence is a very powerful experience for yourself and others. #lent

(Repost: Instagram @shantelcdavis)

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