“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”
— Simone Weil
We are defined by how much weight we place on relationships versus tasks, on our smiles of presence rather than our frowns of drivenness, on the eternal grace of being above the temporal anxiousness of doing.
We might ask, “What is winning in our lives?”
The grandest generosity is the one that costs us the most: our time, our energy, our real resources. For, we are so given to giving people half of ourselves or only even a tenth.
But let us not focus on how hard it is, for truly it isn’t hard; it only seems hard.
When we consider the power that becomes executable when the go against the grain of the world, we come alive to the magical allure of this power and we are won to it.
This power is bound to liberate many in the name of Jesus, and, in that, we ourselves are liberated because we see others flying along in life, uninhibited and graced with power.
When we give people the attention they need without any expectation of recompense, or any string attached, we allow them to be themselves, which is potentially the greatest gift of all, especially in our sight—for what we see in them.
How wonderful could it be, that when people encounter us they get the real us, unencumbered by time or distraction?
We are not only giving them ourselves, we are giving ourselves back to us. We are giving appropriate attention to the dialogue we are involved in. We are giving ourselves the attention we also crave. And when we do this our craving is transformed into needs that are met.
From a worldly sense we don’t want to give way to an attention-seeker. But from a spiritual sense, we see that not only does it not matter to give attention to the attention-seeker, but that it actually matters that we allow them to be real before us, as we are present before them.
There is power in this, and such a power is rarer than we reckon.
Hardly ever will someone volunteer to be vulnerable with their time and focus; generous to the point of giving over their attention for another person—in an unpaid role.
It is up to us how we spend our time when we are with people. We can rush our interactions or we can allow God to use us by giving them the attention they deserve. Only one way points to real life for them, and for us.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.