In today's meeting for worship I was reminded of something said by a friend, on his looking forward to visiting another friend: 'I'm looking forward to being in his presence again.'
My thoughts turned to meeting, being in the presence of the others there, and a growing sense of unity.
Today was the first time my daughter had attended meeting; she stayed for a short time and then left, but I remained very aware of her presence in the house. We have a number of children who come to the meeting; they bring a restless energy and joy.
Sophie currently has a strong desire to be in the presence of us, her parents. She often just comes and sits next to us, or plays in the same room, and is currently waking up in the night to find us.
Recently I was lying in bed and my cat jumped up and gently rested himself on my arm, just next to me. I was grateful for comfort, the light pressing of his weight.
And then, the meeting for worship, and the presence - or perhaps the absence - of God. I am currently not ready to worship what is called God, and currently think in terms of something akin to Bennett's higher energies - or perhaps Eckhart's God beyond God. This is perhaps the ground of what we might call presence, not accessible to common sense. Hence meeting in silence.
Something similar might be felt in the presence of nature, of surrendering oneself to its vastness and plenitude, of teeming life and rocks, all in flux, of which we are a part. I was walking along the cliffs recently and held my hands in the air, in prostration to the sun. On another occasion recently, the words 'I understand' came out of my mouth, bringing to mind George Herbert's prayer, of 'something understood'.
Thoughts turn away from those present now, to being in the presence of friends; I have two friends coming to visit on Wednesday, and most of all I am just looking forward to being in their presence again. Since moving, I am grateful for others with whom I have a sense of presence through other forms of communication.
My mind casts back to knowing my partner as a friend before starting our relationship, and the feeling we had of wanting to be in each other's presence more often.
And there are others whose presence we are no longer able to be with, at least in the present moment, now. We are to be content with our memories of being present with them, suggesting that being in the presence of others, now, is what matters most, and my mind returns back to what is, here and now.