The Present of Presence

Dara LevanBlogLeave a Comment

For Mother’s Day, I rarely want anything material. Although I express this annually, my family does not always listen to me. Yesterday they did. My kids and husband know how deeply I cherish connection. And I am grateful they honored my request to visit a place that is a sanctuary of memories.

I silently thanked the sky for its baby blue canopy and scattered marshmallow clouds. My heart had yearned for this moment for years. After grabbing our water and sunscreen, the four of us walked toward the entrance of Fairchild Tropical Gardens.

The camera bag, which usually weighs heavily and uncomfortably on my shoulder, seemed lighter today. A cap covered the lens, yet it was as if it peered straight through my soul. I meandered around the gift shop while my husband ask for directions to the tree.

As I strode toward my misty-eyed husband, a silky shawl of love enveloped me. I felt her presence. I looked at the matte brass plaque that labeled the immense, deeply rooted tree. Terri Levan Katz. I felt embraced by Terri’s presence; my husband’s late mother.

I stepped away to observe the beauty within this magical space. I’m referring to my husband processing years later the finality of his mother’s passing. Emotions circled us like rings on the trunk of an ancient tree.

Instead of sadness, I felt her precious presence. A waft of peaceful energy whooshed into my heart. I smiled behind the camera and hoped I’d visually captured it all. How kind, thoughtful, and fitting that her friends named this tree to honor Terri’s memory.

We continued to explore the green, luscious landscape. I asked everyone to kindly be quiet, which is no easy feat for those of you who know us! I wanted us to be present for ourselves and with each other. And that’s when today’s blog opened like the lavender lotus flower I spotted on the way out.

Presence is powerful. Presence is healing. Presence transcends logic and the rational mind. Yet presence is palpable; it is a reminder that there’s much we can sense with our heart rather than see with our eyes.

And for me, the gift of one’s presence is invaluable. I have been blessed to sense the presence of many who are no longer physically alive. But today I’m not only referencing the word “presence” in relation to those who have passed; I appreciate and am deeply grateful for the presence of all whom I love. The present of presence, whether giving or receiving it, is the gift.

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