As a society, we always celebrate bigger, faster, and cheaper. If you ever watch a press conference where Steve Jobs is debuting the latest Apple creation you will see that these are the greatest values that are celebrated. Mixed into the announcements are the push for unique design and the integration of technology that enhances relationship. The debut of Facetime was a perfect example of how the leading technological advancements are shifting from progress of technology to enhancement of relationships. This trend will only increase. Why? Bill McKibben has so perfectly coined an answer to this question: ‘more does not equal better.’ As our communication devices have increased there has been a greater fracture in relationships. If we are creating mediums that are not enhancing deep relationship it will result in a surface view of friendship.
I am not anti-technology. I actually love gadgets. I use an iphone, ipad and macbook air. I get geeked out when there is a new announcement by Apple. But, over time I think that we can all agree, technology is no replacement for presence. There is no technology that can replace a truthful conversation with my wife. There is no gadget equal to playing with my daughter for an hour on the floor and laughing uncontrollably together. There is no communication device that can give a hug when we really need it from a friend.
Presence is greater than things. Presence is the feeling that my Dad gifted me when he attended every sports game I was playing in, even when his schedule was busy. Presence is when there is a death in the family and your best friend just sits next to you and doesn’t have to say a word. Presence is not fast, big, or cheap. Presence is not replaceable with someone else or something else. Presence is an essential element in your deepest relationships. Its unspoken. Its true. It’s the greatest encouragement anyone can ever receive or give. Presence is a physical expression of love in the midst of a motion-celebrated culture. To stop and be.
How have you experienced presence or been shaped by presence in recent months?
This post is inspired by a gathering I help lead called Catalyst where we purposefully named the theme: Be Present. If you are interested in learning more about Catalyst, check out http://www.catalystconference.com