I remember the first year cell phones became common among my children’s friends.
We hosted an event at our home and I watched, amused, as the guests realized, one by one, that there was NO cell service out here in the country.
Cut off from their electronic connection to everyone not in attendance, they were forced to be fully present with those that were.
Some of them embraced the opportunity while others bemoaned the fact they had to carry on face-to-face conversations.
And when they found out we didn’t have cable TV, well, THAT was a whole other disappointment!
What seemed natural to me and my family was unusual and uncomfortable for most of them.
Being present takes effort.
It’s so much easier to listen with one ear while pointing the other toward Facebook, YouTube, music or some other distraction.
It’s a lot harder to sit quietly through the same story you’ve heard every Christmas. It requires self-discipline to lean in and love on that difficult aunt or uncle who can be so critical but is really so desperate for compassionate companionship. It is unnatural to lay aside our own desire to be the center of attention and make room for someone else instead.
But being present is the present only YOU can give.
And it is the present that others will remember long after the trinket you bought them has been lost or broken.
So put down the phone. Turn off the TV. Hide the remote and close the apps.
BE with your people. They, and you, are a gift.
Today is a treasure that will never be repeated.
Treat it that way.