Presence…

Today, as I reflected on practice, I heard my dear friends voice booming in my head as it once did out on Seldom Seen Road. You see, back in the day, Larry Allen would depart Dublin and I’d depart Powell. We would meet in the middle on Seldom Seen. I could see LA coming from miles away, as his 6’6″ frame seated on his larger than life bike frame, was impossible to miss. He would see me coming and turn his bike round and wait for me to catch up. His greeting was always the same. “How are you?”

How are you? You see it wasn’t the words that seared my soul. So many folks offer similar greeting and it means next to nothing as it’s really just canon fodder communication. LA’s “How are you” was unique because he meant it, his presence told you so. He would touch my shoulder, look me in the eye, and smile. We would be riding our bikes but the hours would melt by when it was just the two of us. It would start with his interest in knowing how I was and he’d just take it from there.

I miss my friend, mostly I miss his presence. You see, friend, the gift of presence is a rare and beautiful thing. To come into his presence out on Seldom Seen was to know he was coming unguarded, undistracted, and fully with you. He would often talk about Jesus and the ministry of “being with.” He walked the talk, actually, he rode it. His presence was a rare and beautiful thing. So, leader, remember it’s not the words you mouth, it’s not the speeches you rehearse, it’s not the charity events you grace, or even the time you take to travel the world visiting your global partners – it’s your presence. Wherever you are, whomever you’re with, turn off technology, tune into them – the ones right in front of you.

How are you, friend? What a great question, when your caring presence swaddles it, kinda like my dear friend Larry. Good…

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Presence…

  1. Mark Hartman

    I miss him too, Chet. I miss him too.

  2. Thanks, Mark. Thanks, so much for your attention and your shared love for LA…

  3. Kit

    The LTrain loved you so, Chet, truly beyond measure. And he loved being With you. Yes, the ministry of With. We still miss him greatly and look forward to that day. I smile deeply as I know he’s still with you on those White Roads.

  4. Smiling with you, Kitty. Smiling with you…

  5. Something I learned from Toto and Larry about presence and the ministry of “being with” is fundamental for leaders, spouses, parents, friends, teammates, siblings, neighbors, et al.

    It goes like this. “Who you are when you are with them is more important than what you say or do. It’s not that what you say or do isn’t important (it is) – but WHO you are when you’re with them is more important.”

    If you’re like me and need reminders when you’re getting worn down, set your alarm for sometime during the day (say 2pm) — and another for the end of the day on your way home to your loved ones.

    God, help us.

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