How to Show Up For Life

I learned early how to show up for life.

I learned through a tragedy, that by being present for others is a deeper way to be present for yourself.

Easy in theory, harder in action.

My Dearest Sweet E and beloved readers,

Life is full of the big stuff. For you. For your family. For your friends.

Weddings. Funerals. Graduations. Births.

Stuff like that; it’s all the big stuff.

Meaning, these events are important.

They’re the occasions in life that change our course, our hearts, our hopes, our dreams and our relationships.

It’s not only important to you to be shown support during pivotal moments of your life, but it’s important to those you love to be shown support, as well.

How different would our monumental life events feel, should we have no one to share them with, or to help us through.

Why You Should Show Up For The Big Stuff

It’s heartbreaking…that’s how it feels.

Show up for the big stuff, baby.

When G-Daddy and I were in our 20s, a dear friend mused about the importance of showing up, while we sat dumbfounded and confused at the funeral of our mutual friend’s daughter’s funeral Mass.

“It’s what you do when you love someone. You show up for the big stuff.”

Since that proclamation, I have heard those words ring true throughout my life.

Upon the death of a beloved friend (on more than one occasion): we showed up.

Upon the uniting of two souls in matrimony: we showed up.

At the death of friend’s parents: we showed up.

At the birth of friend’s babies – at your birth: we showed up (for yours, in particular, we drove like bats outta hell, in the middle of the deep dark Texas night, to meet you and to make sure Momma and Daddy were supported and loved).

Why?

When life is so full with work and family and social engagements, showing up can feel inconvenient – so, why show up?

Why not send a delightful and thoughtful gift instead? Everyone likes gifts, right?

Why not a phone call of congratulations or condolences? Everyone loves to know you’re thinking about them, right?

Why not a note filled with heartfelt emotion? Everyone one loves a cherished keepsake, right?

Why go to the trouble of showing up instead?

One reason: it’s the right thing to do.

G-Daddy has a life’s creed, a motto, he lives by: Do right and suffer the consequences.

It is right to show up, in person, instead of sending something less meaningful in your place.

It is right to show up, in person, instead of simply dialing a phone or facetiming in your place.

It is right to show up, in person, instead of sending a words upon paper in your place.

Yes, so many times, other’s need comes at an inconvenient time in your life, and you’ll try to convince yourself that you need not show up in person. That it will be fine.

And, the not so secret secret is it will be fine – for you.

Yet, it will leave a hole for the one who needs you, just as it would if you were the one in need.

How do I know? Because, I’ve been on both ends.

I’ve been the one to not show up AND I’ve had my people not show up.

It’s an awful feeling no matter where you stand.

No one wants the awful feeling of regret to cast a shadow on their love.

It might be able to be fixed, but the fixing, the smoothing over of hearts, is a harder road than any inconvenience of timing that life offers.

The solution?

Show up for the big stuff, baby. Always.

Here’s a funny thing about people: they won’t tell you that they need you – how they will try like hell to convince you that they are okay if you don’t show up.

Don’t believe them.

If it’s one of the big events in life and they’ve asked you to come (via invite or other) – GO.

I have been in the situation where I was asked if *my person/people* asked if they should come – if I needed them to come. What could I say?

What are you going to say?

You’re going to let them off the hook – that’s what you’re going to say.

Why?

Doesn’t that make you culpable in them not coming?

Sure.

But…

What kind of ass are you to make others feel like they must go out of their way, that they must inconvenience themselves, to be with you in solidarity of whatever big moment is happening?

We don’t want to put others out. It’s a fact.

If you’re from the South , you can hear your momma in your ear: I raised you better than that!

Why You Should Show Up For The Big Stuff

The truth is this (the truth for me): if a lifelong friend is asking, I’ll say EXACTLY what it is I need. Yes, dear God in heaven, come!

Yet, for others that I’d like/love to have near, yet may or may not know where the bodies are hidden (FIGURATIVE, SWEET BOY!), I will offer the polite out for them, hoping like hell they don’t take it.

This will always feel like a trap you have laid for those you love.

It’s an awful place to stand in, especially if you need your people, but you allow polite courtesy instead.

Personally, I don’t want to lay the snare on the forest floor.

What I want instead is for my people to be near, whether I am celebrating the big stuff or mourning the big stuff.

And it will be the same for you.

You’ll want the same things.

So, my solution FOR YOU is to always show up for the big things, for those you love, no matter what is going on in your life (well, within general reason).

I pray they do the same for you.

This life is made sweeter, made more tolerable, made wholly by those we love and hold dear.

At the end of our breath, we will think of the love we have shared, the love we have given, the love we have taken and be glad for it all.

If we can not be bothered by that which makes those we love rise or fall, why are we bothering at all?

Don’t be the schmuck that doesn’t show up and then lives with the regret.

DON’T BE THE SCHMUCK!

Need a life’s creed, a motto, to live by?

There ya go.

No one intends to be the schmuck, but sometimes it happens.

Life is a hand grenade: it’s calm and easy until someone pulls the pin.

Show up, my sweet Sweet E.

My prayer for you is that not only do you show up for the big stuff in the lives of those you love, but, in turn, they show up for you.

“It’s what you do when you love someone. You show up for the big stuff.”

I’m showing up for you, for me, for my sweet Sweet E, through the words I offer.

What I’ll Tell Sweet E is truly an extension of what I want to share with you.

Go.

Read.

Show up for life.

How to Show Up For Life

Sweet E Is is my inspiration for these posts. I like to think of them as my love letter to my grandson and to you, my dear readers.

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Comments

  1. Well said! I’ve shared this to my Pinterest board called “Words to Live By”. Thank you!
    Btw, I found your blog through the GRAND Social.

  2. Thank you for the words of wisdom. I have been guilty at times of sending the note or the gift in my place. Starting today I commit to show up in person whenever possible (not whenever convenient) for the big moments in life.

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