“I can’t make it tomorrow. But I will be with you in spirit.”
“I know I said I was going to be there, but I’ll be there in spirit.”
“Gosh, I can’t make it again tonight, but I’ll sure be there in spirit.”
After repeated vacancies excused by the promise of terrestrial presence I finally needed to speak up.
“No thank you. Keep your spirit with you. You’ll need it.”
A prolonged silence was followed by a nervous giggle.
Things happen in life that truly do prevent us from being where we have committed to be. In my experience these occurrences are rare. It is more common to make a commitment to be somewhere and then just decide we really don’t feel like following through. Maybe we had said yes when we really meant to say no. Maybe we have gotten what we perceive to be a better offer. Maybe we are a bit tired or are feeling overcommitted. Maybe spirit is the one excuse no one can argue with?
And so, we pull the “there in spirit card.”
So, let me be clear that I know you will be with me in spirit. There is nowhere else for you to be. We are all together in spirit all the time.
That is not the same as being physically present where you said you would be.
There is nothing evil or ill-intentioned about this framing. It just isn’t helpful. I for one would much prefer the honest and in my face approach. “I know I said I was going to be there, and now I am really not wanting to do that. So, I am sorry. I won’t be there.”
No reaching for the spirit realm out clause. No excuse or even regret. I said I would be there and now I am saying I won’t. Clean. Concise. Honest. Done.
Then we are clear, and I still know we are forever together in spirit. And I know that you are someone that occasionally, or even repeatedly, does not keep commitments. I can file that information away, and maybe even extend invitations accordingly.
And I can know without judgment that your spirit is ever-present, though sometimes you simply are not.