Absence and Presence: A Reflection on God’s Unwavering Love

Absence and Presence: A Reflection on God’s Unwavering Love

I think I have the window seat.” The woman who was to be my traveling companion for the two-hour flight, said to me. I smiled and step back so  she could get in. She had problems with getting her bag placed over head, and getting all her stuff under the seat. The people boarding behind us looked at me like it was my fault, I just wanted to say, “hey, I don’t even know her” but instead, I just smiled and did a shrug of apology. Seated, she did not open the window, she did not speak to me. She placed her ear buds, turned on her “notebook” and settled in for her trip. Getting the message loud and clear, I settled for the two-hour flight, happy to nap and do a game on my phone. There is something about getting up in the middle of the night, racing through the airport, and finally settling in that always causes me to fall into a sleep stooped. Head bobbing, drooling, and no – piggy snorting a huge snore. I even woke myself up. With an apology on my lips, I turned to my seat mate. She was still watching the movie, and thankfully, totally oblivious When the plain landed, she lifted the window shade, and turned to me, “really bumpy flight.” “Yes,” I agreed. She needed me to help her with her bag, stand forward so she could get out, and of course she decided to chat. She had been present but completely unavailable during the entire flight, and now she wanted to be my new best friend. Being just this side of rude, I ran into the terminal, and found the first bathroom. When I came out of the stall, there she stood waiting, and looking annoyed that someone was in her way. I smiled and she had zero recognition of me. I moved passed her, and realized that we had just spend two-hours in the same space, and she had not been present except when she needed something from me. At first, I was insulted, and then realized this was about her being absent in her own life, not me.

In part, this is what this scripture is about. God has offered us the opportunity to live in His love, joy and richness of His presence. We take as if we are entitled, living unavailable and choosing to be absent from God; that is until we need something. Then we are more than happy to lift the shade, ask for help, and then go back to being oblivious and absent. God does continue to love us, but our choosing to absent and unavailable has its cost. We chose to miss out on the joy, love and presence of God. Good thing God is always available and present, even to us. That’s what God’s love is about.

Blessings,

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