The Power of Presence: A love story by Reverend Neil T Anderson
Neil Anderson has travelled the world, speaking and teaching, and has written many books. At his side, at his back, has been his wife Joanne: they have been together for over 50 years. Now Joanne is gripped by a long decline, sinking gradually into agitated dementia. She depends on Neil's presence, calls him Daddy. He has no training as a nurse, but now for long hours he sits at her bedside, and cares for her bodily needs. They do not speak much: conversation is a strain. So Neil has used the silent hours to pray, to spend time in God's presence, and to reflect on what this means. 'I have become keenly aware that God is using Joanne's illness to teach me about the power of presence,' he writes. 'I'm learning on a much deeper level the purpose of just being there, and what it means to be still and know that He is God. There is an inexplicable peace that comes from knowing I don't have to 'do' in order to 'be' in God's will - to be in His presence - to be in each other's presence. 'It has been a peaceful time of reflection upon the presence of God, and how that has shaped me, our marriage, and ministry. My theology tells me that God is omnipresent, but we are not always aware of His presence, and yet without His presence we are not fully alive.'