One of my most romantic memories was on our honeymoon in Kauai. Mike had planned a road trip to a certain spot on the island that was filled with waterfalls. He was giddy about it. But a couple hours into our drive, pain escalated for me. (I later found out I had a decayed wisdom tooth mixed with nerve pain from Fibromyalgia). Mike took one look at the pain in my face and, without a word of complaint, turned the car back around and said gently, “I think that’s enough for today.” He gave up his biggest adventure on the most expensive vacation of his life, in order to care for me.
As I reflect back on that time, part of me feels so sad. What a waste! Why did we spend all that money when pain prevented us from enjoying the island? But my spiritual director helped me to realize that the memory of that car ride, when I became more aware of the selfless presence of my life-partner, was priceless.
In Matthew 26:6-16, there is a woman who gives up a years’ wages by pouring expensive perfume over Jesus. Jesus’ disciples respond by saying, “Why this waste?” But the woman is willing to give up everything because she is aware of whose presence she is in. For the woman, getting to be in the presence of Jesus is more important than her life savings.
Becoming aware of the presence of Jesus is the key to selfless love. In the 1600s, Brother Lawrence served as a cook and a sandal maker in a monastery. He spent his whole life serving others with joy by “practicing the presence of God“. He believed that every moment is an enjoyable moment when you become aware of God’s presence, even if you’re doing something as mundane as doing the dishes.
I’ve recently been listening to this song from InterVarsity Live! called “In your presence” every time I cook dinner or work on a tedious homework assignment. When I start to feel my energy depleting or my grumpiness creeping in, I listen to it to remind myself that I can enjoy the presence of my Creator no matter where I am or what I am doing. There are also some excellent print outs of liturgies called “Every Moment Holy” that I hang on my wall to make even the most ordinary of tasks feel sacred.
When was the last time you experienced the presence of Jesus? What was that experience like? What’s one way you want to actively remember he is with you?