All I Can Do Is Show Up

July 31, 2014 | 54 Comments

Shannon and her friend Lillie, head to head smiling for the camera

What is it about taking up space that makes us feel sheepish?

Friendship exists for us to live out our need for belonging and connectedness by sharing our stories. Our wonderful, brutal, happy, gut-punching stories.

I’ve had friends in crisis and I’ve also been in crisis here and there. Maybe everywhere. Our crisis conversations almost always end with one of us saying some version of, “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to dump on you.”

When I hear myself say these words, they makes sense. But when you say them, I’m jolted by their absurdity. I think, “Are you kidding? Do you know what you just gave me? Your time and your story and your trust and your words and the chance to show up!”

“When we learn someone’s story, it shifts the fabric of our being. We are more open. And when we are open, we connect.” —Kate DiCamillo

When you let me into your life — when we share time and you lay your heart before my mine — you create space for me to show up. And I can do that! I don’t have the right words, I never quite know what we should do next, and my casseroles are kind of the terriblest— but boy can I show up.

And I feel useful when you let me show up.  Showing up is a gift we give to each other and ourselves. We hold each other’s stories in our hands like a tiny bird. We cup them with warm, gentle hands and float hight on the gift of trust. The gift of crossed paths and hearts.

“Oh, but I’ve been taking up so much space and there’s been none for you.” We say.

Maybe. Maybe that’s been a little true lately. But soon it will be my hurt that needs showing up for, and you’ll be there. I know it. Besides, friendship doesn’t keep tallies. Friendship shows up and fuses us together.

“All you can do is show up for someone in crisis, which seems so inadequate. But then when you do, it can radically change everything. Your there-ness, your stepping into a sacred person’s line of vision, can be life giving can be life giving, because often everyone else is in hiding.” —Anne Lamott

So let me hold space for you, friend. No sorries allowed.

Let our togetherness propel us into love and healing.

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