Showing Up

“Sometimes, you want to be that friend who knows the right things to do, the right things to say. But most of the time, I find myself at a loss for words and actions – what can I possibly do to make things better, especially when things are generally beyond our control?”

You could tell that he was both helpless and frustrated at that time, his genuine concern and desire to help someone was taking a toll on his own composure. I could relate to this feeling very well – I’m no stranger to this predicament.

I took a sip from my pint, and gently lowered the glass onto the table. Taking a breath, I offered a sympathetic grin and replied, “Just show up.”

He looked at me as if I had said the most obvious yet bizarre thing in the world. Probably giving me the benefit of doubt, he asked, “And then what?”

Often times we underestimate the power of showing up. Even if we are able to make our own physical presence available, we tend to assume that there has to be a series of things to do or say to “help” or “make things right”. We try to dig deep into our memories, be it from experience or something we’ve seen from the movies, assuming we have a little bit of control of the outcome of events to follow. And if you’re socially awkward like me, silences can be deafening.

But we live and learn.

And I have learned that our availability, or even the awareness of it to others means more than we know.

Some of us have the best advice to give, but in this world where everything moves really fast and people often get left behind – sometimes all we really need to know is that we’re not alone in this lonely corner of our own little world. Even if that means knowing the presence of a friend on the other side of the door, in spite of our inability to open ourselves up or share our space.

The words “I’m here for you” can work miracles. They spell care, thoughtfulness, selflessness and availability. Those who utter those words also put themselves in a vulnerable position of being misused or misunderstood – but bless the hearts who find courage and grace within the depth of their humanness.

Showing up is completely opposite of showing off. Showing up is completely selfless, shoving your ego aside and giving your time and thoughts to someone else completely even when it’s hard and taking no credit for it.  It comes in many forms, such as a literal physical presence of doing something or nothing at all, a kind word, an unspoken act of service, a meal, a prayer, or simply sparing a thought.

I’m thankful for loved ones who never fail to show up for me, and I hope, that I will always be able to do same for you.

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