|On Being Present Where You Are||BookedPDF|
Douglas Steere, a professor of philosophy at Haverford College, was both a prolific author and a world traveler. He contributed extensively to the American Friends Service Committee work in the US and in Europe, both before and after the second World War.
This pamphlet asks the question "What, then, does it mean to be present and what does genuine presence imply?" In part the answer is given that "it means, to be sure, a power to influence, to penetrate, to engage with the other; but it means equally a willingness to be vulnerable enough to be influenced by, to be penetrated by, and even to be changed by the experience." And further on he remarks that "to be present is to be vulnerable, to be able to be hurt, to be willing to be spent - but it is also to be awake, alive, and engaged actively in the immediate assignment that has been laid upon us."
Sections on "Presence and Four Types of Love", "On Being 'All There'", "The Cost of Being Present", "A Real Friend is Present", "I am Ready. Are you Ready?", "The Unbidden Presence", and others lead Douglas to a strong conviction. "I believe that in the period that lies ahead, there is no deeper challenge to Quakers in their personal, spiritual, and social witness all over the globe than this issue of learning to be present where they are in their personal relationships and making their infinitesimal witness and effort to rouse men to dare to be present to each other."