10.8 Showing Up

We all make mistakes and can’t be everything to everybody, no matter how hard we try. This being said, as I get older, I’ve seen in real time the necessity of showing up for people. Big ways or small ways. Some people have this ability built in, and fundamentally know what to do when someone needs help. Others have to get a bit of shit thrown at them as life moves forward in order to snap outside of themselves.

I’m really not talking about anything specific right now. This is just something I’ve been thinking about for the last little while. Or maybe I am thinking of something specific? How you can let people down unintentionally, that you can really try your hardest, and yet still things don’t work out in the right way. But what is the right way? Isn’t whatever happened the thing that was supposed to happen?

There is someone in my life who is a mentor to me. He’s getting older and has had health problems in the past. Over the last few months, I’ve tried to arrange a time to meet with him again. But, he is having trouble remembering things. He has his good days, his bad days. I should just stop by, but something is stopping me. I don’t know how to connect with him. I don’t know if he would know it was me, and that is really scary. I do know that he has a big family who loves him dearly, and a wide circle of friends that are taking care of him. He is in good hands.

Have I really tried to show up for this person? Do they need it? Am I failing him like I have felt I’ve failed others? Is this for selfish reasons that I am not just getting in my car and going to his house? What is it that’s stopping me? I’ve dealt with this kind of thing before and I’ve shown up for people. I know how to do it. Why is this different?

The idea that someone doesn’t need me or that they wouldn’t care if they saw me again is an insecurity that has been tattooed on my insides. This is simply not true, however, it’s difficult to move past.

I know for a fact that when people have shown up for me, it’s meant the world. Back when I got into a terrible car accident, and could barely leave my house, friends showed up. They brought food - do you want comfort food or stuff that’s actually good for you? We watched movies - dumb action movie or thoughtful art house movie? At times in my life, I have felt alone, and figured that I’d experience most things on my own. But they showed up, small acts build incrementally into a patchwork that becomes a grand gesture.

I haven’t shown up for everyone. My record is spotty. The times that have mattered the most were when I didn’t even think about it. Something happened, and I knew I had to just go - to my friend, my family, whatever situation. Just dropped what I was doing and just go. Always, it matters to the other person, and it matters to me. It’s a win-win situation.

Excuse me, I’m done writing - there’s someone I need to call.

Paul Dore