In the hustle and bustle of the holidays right now, I wanted to take a moment to share something that has had a profound impact on my life. It’s something I use at home and try to incorporate at work, as well. I hope it brings a smile to your face and maybe causes you to pause and take a minute to tell someone you work with, “I see you.”

I have been thinking a lot lately about an anecdote someone shared with me last year. It goes something like this:

In a tribe in Africa, there is a valuable common practice when an individual goes to visit someone in their home. When the visitor arrives, they knock at the door, and when it is opened to them, they say, “I am here.” Likewise, the host/hostess responds, “I see you.”

It is in this way that they begin each interaction in a home setting, as if to say the following:

Guest: I am done thinking about my journey and how long it took me to get here. I am done thinking about everything I didn’t get to do before I left to come visit you. I am ready to be intentional in our time together, which will make the journey worth my while. I will return to finish what I didn’t do with a fuller cup and a more whole self.

Host: I am done with last-minute cleaning efforts and will leave that pile of laundry or dishes (or both) right where they are, because YOU are more important than finishing those tasks. I have been looking forward to our time together and I’m so glad you made it here safely. You are valuable to me, let us begin our quality time together.

To be seen and validated for one’s value just by being oneself — and to be fully present in each moment, to the best of his or her own ability — is one of the most valuable (and free) gifts we can give each other.

While this is an incredible gift we can give to our family and friends, it continues to stir my heart to spend time with God in the same way. Whether it’s on my way to work during a few quiet moments stuck in traffic, while preparing dinner, or doing any other number of things, I know God sees me always. It is up to each of us to say to God, “I am here, I am available. Speak to me, teach me, grow me, work in and through me for your glory.” When we seek him, he never delays to acknowledge and welcome us with open arms.