Being a Beneficial Presence

This morning when I awoke, I prayed for God to speak through me. I prayed that I would be a beneficial presence today and I set my intention to be love wherever I went.

I was scheduled to speak at a community center in West Los Angeles at ten. When I arrived at about fifteen minutes before I was scheduled to speak, I met the activities director. She was a warm woman from Vienna and as we waited in the conference room for the attendees, we started talking. She was studying hypnotherapy, pursuing a master's degree online, and working full time. She spoke of how although she has lived here for eight years, living in Los Angeles was difficult to get used to. While seniors enjoyed breakfast in the next room, we talked about the importance of community and the difficulty some seniors face in creating one for themselves. We discovered that our birthdays are one day apart (mine January 17th and hers the 18th).

By ten a.m., I was certain that I would not have an audience to speak to--at least not the audience I expected. The activities director apologized to me and wondered why none of the seniors had shown up. She admitted that she had not done her usual advertising because she'd been absent due to a death in her family last week.

It became clear to me that she was my audience. She was the person to whom I was to be a beneficial presence. So I proceeded to share with her all that I'd intended to speak about for my talk. We talked about the importance of attitude and how our attitude creates our perception of events that occur in our lives. We talked about how we always have choice in the matter of our lives and how our resistance to what is creates pain and stress. We talked for half an hour before someone came in for the workshop.

She was a Russian immigrant who also volunteered at the center. I immediately noted that her blue sweater matched her eyes perfectly and thought she must have chosen that sweater for that very reason. The activities director left us alone to talk. I'd envisioned speaking to a room full of people and there I was having a one on one conversation.

At first, I tried to stick to my agenda. I'd planned to talk about using creativity to combat stress and I was going to do just that. We started doing an acting exercise that involved pantomime, but it became clear that this woman just wanted to talk. She wanted to talk about loneliness, low self-esteem, and the hardships that her family was facing. I was so honored that she trusted me enough to share these very personal feelings with me so quickly. She said that I had good energy. I tried not to "should" her to death. When I found myself about to give advice, instead I shared what I have learned. I pointed out to her what was admirable about her just from our brief meeting--her sense of style, her service to the community, her honesty. I shared my own struggles and my intention to focus on gratitude when I face situations that are not as I would like them to be. She said that I made her think about things in a way that she never would have before.

After our talk, she went to shake my hand and I asked if I could hug her. We shared a warm hug and it felt good. I said goodbye to the activities director and gave her a warm hug too. She walked me out to the parking lot and invited me to come to the farmer's market held there every Monday afternoon.

I learned that when I ask God to use me and I set an intention to be a beneficial presence and to be love, I can be of service in ways that I could not imagine or even intend. I went there to give service, to give a one hour talk about creativity and stress. I left with a full heart. That is being a beneficial presence. That is God in action.


Sadye said…
that is powerful! You never know how things will work out, and to go with the flow! I enjoyed reading that thank you for sharing!
Anonymous said…
Good brief and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.

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