Monday, August 08, 2005

Presence and the other

i bumped into an old friend yesterday and had the pleasure of hanging out with him for a few hours. we talked about everything from a-to-z in lieu of catching up. but one portion of the conversation will stay with me for a while. he has been taking meditation classes at a local Buddhist temple where he is learning to slow down and enter every moment and every encounter with intentionality. this played out for him in the coffee shop where he had just worked the cash register for 8 hrs on a busy day. normally this would be a time to shut off the brain and go through the ropes until it is time to clock out. but this particular day was different. with every person that stepped up to order, he would say to himself- right now, all there is is you and me. and i want to find something in you, during this 30 second encounter, that is noble.

the obvious link in my mind was the I and Thou dialectic of Jewish mystic, Martin Buber. his understanding of encounter has become for me, the foundation of any relational endeavor- that in our engagement, i should see you as thou, not it. as a follower of the Christ, it is in the space between i and thou that we might have a memory of the incarnation and be reminded of the immanent return of Jesus.

needless to say, i recommended the book to my dear friend. he called me today to say that he purchased it and is well over half way through. may the relational fruit continue to abound!

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