Her story broke my heart as she described her life with her children. I asked, “Where is your husband, the children’s father?” She told me he spent most of his time working or pursuing his hobbies, and they didn’t spend much time together.
His story painted a picture of a marriage that would not last long. He invited his wife to join him on his many adventures, and she refused. She didn’t enjoy the same things that he did, so they lived separate lives for several years.
The pain in her voice was noticeable as she told me about her children. Now well advanced in years and left alone after her husband of over 50 years passed. She longed to visit with her children, but they were, according to her description, “busy with their own lives.”
The impact of her father existed not just as a little girl but now as an adult. She desperately wanted to know the man she called dad. Be he never seemed to have time for her, and she never completely understood why a conversation and coffee could mean so much.
Many of the conversations and counseling that I share with people revolves around two topics. The first is the people who hurt them by their presence. Numerous people are trying to overcome the pain inflicted on them by others. The second issue is the hurt caused by people’s absence. The person they loved the most and wanted to connect with in meaningful ways did not have time for them.
Here is the truth most of us ignore: we easily recognize the damage caused by evil people, and we never think of the hurt inflicted by absence. As a result, we can miss the opportunities that exist around us, or worse; we can inflict pain into the lives of people we care about without even recognizing it.
I continually remind myself and others to be present in the lives of the people you care about and those who care about you. Your time with them does not have perfect or eventful. You just have to be there. I can assure you that someone in this world longs for you to be a part of their life. They want to sit with you, talk, and enjoy the quiet moments. Each day you need to remember that one gift you can always give to your loved ones is spending time together. People do not want you to be perfect; they want you to be present.