The Presence of Absence

The Presence of Absence (1,137)

May 5th, 2011

I don’t want to over-simplify—yet sometimes it appears to me that the opinions folks have about others fall into two categories:

First, people are great.

Second, people suck.

Honestly, I don’t agree with either one of these contentions. People are not always great. Nothing is always great. Otherwise we would all become spoiled brats and have temper tantrums when our bananas have brown spots.

And people don’t always suck—because you can catch people on days when they do suck, and by Friday they get their paycheck.

But I have found one situation to be commonly true. Let me explain it to you.

I spent last evening performing in Albert Lea, Minnesota. It is a perfectly lovely middle-America town. I met a man there you will never hear about because he doesn’t do anything crazy enough to be jammed into the twenty-four-hour news cycle. But he performed a noteworthy deed. On his own, he pursued an unknown idea, discovered the truth for himself, studied it, made a decision and brought in something from the outside world that was not of his own making. That would have been Jan and myself. No one talked him into it; he did all the work. He even took it through a committee (one of the braver steps any adventurer can undertake).

And the reason he was able to achieve this is because he possesses that virtue necessary to be a quality human being: he has the presence of absence. He feels enough vacancy in his life that he pursues other things that might fill that hole.

Lots of people lie about it. Some individuals pretend that a certain amount of misery is necessary in life’s journey. They would rather extol the value of absence and end up, in the process, making it their presence. They walk around with a sad countenance, obviously in need, while insisting that their self-sufficiency cannot be increased or improved.

Yes, to me that is the difference in human beings. Some people have the presence of absence, realizing they require more than just their own effort and intelligence to be successful. Others have the absence of presence—they choose to run their vehicle on half a tank instead of allowing themselves to be filled.

Pardon me for saying so, but I admire the hell out of someone who is happy—but will admit that the little dab they do lack is well worth chasing down.

So I salute you, Mark—my dear friend in Albert Lea—and because of your presence of absence, some folks got together last night and had a blessed time. Just think if you had been satisfied with the status quo. That would have been unfortunate.

I think this is what Jesus meant by “blessed are the poor in spirit,” because the truth of the matter is, the more spirit you get in your life, the more absence you may feel. It is why we must “hunger and thirst for righteousness.”

Published in: on May 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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