My friend’s father died at Christmas. What do you say to someone in that moment when they need you the most? I didn’t say a whole lot – of course I said how deeply sorry I was for her loss. Outside of those few words, I chose to simply show up for her.
Nothing you can say or do will ease the loss of a loved one. Nothing.
As humans, we feel helpless especially when we don’t know what to say or do. The best way to handle that helplessness is to show up.
At his celebration of life service, my friend didn’t have a whole lot of time – obviously – to chat.
But she knew I was there because all I could do was simply show up in life – for her – at that moment.
When You Don’t Know What To Do
I recently read an article by Glennon Doyle about simply showing up in life.
Glennon Doyle is an insightful writer who’s been to hell and back with drug addiction and bulimia and in the process, figured out the secret to life is simply showing up.
The secret of life is not about knowing what to say or do. It’s not about doing love or loss right. Life cannot be handled. The secret is simply to show up. It’s about witnessing it all, even the pain, and letting it touch you and make you not harder, but more tender. Showing up, feeling it all—this is my new kind of prayer.
It took her beloved grandmother living her last moments and her sister giving birth – all on the same day – to change her thinking about what to do when you don’t know what to do.
Can you imagine how you’d make a choice like that?
You don’t. You simply show up in life.
You do your very best to simply show up knowing that it’s painful, it’s heartbreaking, it’s life-altering.
What I’ve Learned About Simply Showing Up In Life
I’ve learned that life is hard. I’ve learned that to have a friend, you have to be a friend. A true friend. I’ve learned that sometimes, saying nothing and just showing up is what matters most.
Knowing that nothing I could say or do would change the situation or make it any easier, I showed up.
Instead of mumbling the standard ‘he’s in a better place’ (which does absolutely nothing I might add) I showed up for my friend and simply said:
Peace and be well.
During those inevitable times when life goes sideways, yes, it will hurt. But kindness makes the bitterness of life easier to handle.
Glennon Doyle went on to say:
I felt like I was getting the inside scoop from life itself, and it was saying, “Yes, Glennon, it’s as hard as you fear. That won’t change. You will lose people. It will hurt badly, and yet…we go on. Tomorrow will be beautiful again—more beautiful than you can imagine.”
It’s when you don’t know what to say or do that simply showing up in life means the world.
Please take a moment to share this with someone you love. And if you need some inspiration for showing up, let’s talk.