At our deepest place of union we come to rest. Not needing to prove something or to explain ourselves, we can just be. Our journey to this point of connection with another does take risk, but it is here that we give our greatest gift – that of presence.
The space between us and others is never an empty one and if we are aware, we’ll increasingly become skilled at reading another’s presence. We’ll know when we are with someone who, say, has a heavy heart.
So what is the quality of our presence? Do we really believe that simply who we are is enough, that we have value, even if we are doing or saying nothing. We’ve been brought up to believe that only if we produce something we have value, thus we are over-busy and tend to identify with externals, with what and how much we produce. It is scary to go to a place of non-activity and non-productivity, to a place of simple mirroring. We want to break the silence in order to justify the space we’re occupying. The ‘nothingness’ terrifies us.
We can here learn much from children, who can simply look, unsmiling, not trying to fix anything. They can just be present and when they’ve had enough they simply turn away. In this they give us an enormous gift, for they see and receive us as we are, without judgement.
How then can we interpret Jesus’ prayer for our union? We each need to manage our relational spaces, our places of connection, even those that are momentary, with strangers. What tends to happen in our society is that at every turn, when we experience uncomfortable feelings, we pull back and separate.
God never expected our union to be because we’re all the same. He wants us to come with our differences, to learn to accept and appreciate each other without explanations. As within the Trinity, He longs for us too, to experience relationships of love. We are not just here to absorb the world’s resources. We are here for the other, here to share our humanity, and from our union, to give life.