To stand there holding the game Clue looking expectantly at your parents and having their response to your request for some rare family time be “Can’t you see we are watching TV?” is devastating.
Here I was listening to this teen’s story of thirsting for attention and love and being disappointed when my phone went off again. This would be the worst time ever to pick it up.
But I had to.
I was in the middle of guiding a volunteer through their first Critical Occurrence and had to pick up the phone.
Worst. Timing. Ever.
This girl is emotionally devastated because of her parent’s lack of presence in her life, so she calls up her Youth Worker for coffee, her Youth Worker had to leave her there alone for 15 minutes while she went out to answer an “important but I can’t tell you why” phone call.
Once again I am reminded of the power of being present. I see the brokeness that comes from the lack of it all the time. And in my own life I see the power of a positive and consistent parental presence. When I was a kid my parents would tuck me in every night. About 10 minutes after they put me to bed I would get up and ask for a glass of water. After I got my water and another kiss goodnight I would lay in bed FOREVER. (actual time 10 minutes) Then I would get up out of bed again, open my door very slowly and peek around the corner into the living room. And every time I peeked, I saw my parents sitting there, in their chairs, bibles open, lamps on, music playing in the background. It was comforting to know they were there.
When I got older and would occasionally be home alone at night for whatever reason I would leave the living room lights on and turn on the radio so I could fall asleep.
The power of presence. To have it is amazing, the lack of it leaves you feeling alone. Very alone.