Editor’s note: Deanna Wolf, good friend to former staff member Bridget Higginbotham and previous casa resident and volunteer for the Columban Center for Outreach and Advocacy reflects on the word “presence”. Deanna discusses the impact a simple engraving on a bracelet has had on her life, as well as her relationship with both herself and God. 

“Be Here” read the words on the bracelet wrapped around my wrist. I had requested these words etched in the intention bracelet gifted me by my mom three and a half years ago. At this time, I desperately wanted, needed, to be where I was: to be present. 

During graduate school, and directly after, I felt life was waiting for me to happen, if only I were somewhere else. Across the country, in another job, with another group of friends, then I would really be living. I would be where I was supposed to be,  which seemed to be anywhere but my current situation. Yet, beneath what I now recognize as longing, I knew I needed to be where I was, to be present. Hence the bracelet

There’s power in setting an intention. Slowly over the course of that year, I began to Be Here. I’d glance down at the words on my wrist and take a deep breath. Here. Be Here. There was no where else to be. I needed to live the life I was in. In living that life, I became present to the day to day beauty of what was unfolding around me. My job wasn’t my dream job, but I was purposeful and making a difference. My group of friends in the same city weren’t those closest to me, but I started to let these relationships grow. The guy across the table from me at dinner wasn’t who I pictured I would be with, but all of a sudden I didn’t want to be anywhere else. 

In being present, I found Presence. Our days aren’t meant to be squandered dreaming of a different place, a different time, a different life. God desires for us fullness in who we are and lives we create for ourselves and others. Once I began to be exactly where I was, I began to see God’s Presence and promise in each day. This Holy Presence was in the surrender to the unknown I allowed myself as I searched for my next job, the sense of community and unconditional love I felt as I rekindled relationships with old friends, and the peace I felt on a rainy night in a wine bar sharing drinks with a stranger. 

My prayer for you this Advent season is to Be Here,  to be in the present moment of your life. In being present, may you experience the beauty and promise of his Holy Presence