One of the greatest skills you can develop is the ability to be appropriately present to others within any given context. This is a must-have skill for ministers, but even if you aren’t a minister, the ability to be present will enrich your life and contribute to your maturity.
At first, being present sounds so easy. You just listen or pay attention, and that makes you present. Not so fast. Life is full of factors that make being fully present difficult. Sometimes you are tired, and you just don’t have what it takes to be present. Other times, you are so opinionated that overcoming the wall of the self and being fully here and now becomes almost impossible because your opinion colors everything. It is also possible that you are ready to be here mentally and emotionally, but the other person to whom you want to be present makes it difficult: she may be agitated, or she may communicate in a confusing way. In short, being appropriately and fully present is a skill that can be developed, but it requires some of your intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and even analytical reserves to marshal. Moreover, it takes a trained eye and ear to recognize the subtle absence of a conversation partner from a discussion that appears to be fully with you.