The Nashville Predators made it to the Stanley cup this year and it was quite the buzz for our city. It was a Wednesday night, right in the middle of the work week for everyone, when one of the games was scheduled. We had made loose plans to go downtown with some of our friends. When the night came we were all a little tired, very much in the grind of the work week. In our group text message we had going, we were all batting around ideas of where to go and what time to meet. No one had a strong opinion about the plans yet everyone seemed to voice similar things; we’re tired, we want to do something low key and don’t want to stay out too late. We’re totally getting old.
My phone rang and it was my sister who had been part of the group text.
‘Hey, what’re y’all doing for dinner?’ she asked.
‘No idea’ I said. ‘We’ll probably eat here before we head downtown. I haven’t been to the store this week so I’ll probably just throw together whatever I can find and call it a night.’
‘Yeah I can’t remember the last time I went to the store. We have fruit snacks in the pantry and La Croix in the fridge and that’s about it’ she said, ‘Do y’all want to eat together? I can run to the store and grab a few things. Do y’all want to come here and eat and then ride downtown together?’ She asked.
‘Yes and yes to all of that. I’ve got chicken breast in the freezer, I’ll defrost some and we can grill it.’ I said
‘Perfect.’ She responded
We hung up the phone and I went to get ready.
Not long after I got off the phone Justin walked through the front door. I filled him in on our dinner plans, we changed into our Preds t’s and began to gather our things to head out the door.
Just as we were about to walk out, our phones buzzed with a text from the group message. It was Ben, our brother-in-law, who said ‘Hey, I just talked to Jordan, and what do y’all think about scratching our plans to go downtown and instead you guys come over to our place? We’ll make sushi bowls for dinner. Y’all can just show up.’
Yes. Just show up. That was exactly what my soul needed. To simply show up.
That night where we were invited in explicit terms to ‘just show up,’ was the first time I think I have ever consciously and truly shown up.
Ben and Jordan, my brother-in-law and sister, who also happen to be two of our best friends, are teaching me what it means to show up.
They have a beautiful way of simply simply showing up and equally beautiful way at creating a space for others to simply show up.
Showing up for me has always been about bringing something, doing something or being something.
Simply showing up is something I have never done.
I would never show up to a party without bringing something in the same way I would never show up as a dinner guest without bringing a side dish or a bottle or wine at the very least.
I would never consider showing up to a party or event without offering to help the host or do something.
I don’t recall a time I’ve show up somewhere without some under current of felt expectation of what I needed to bring, do or be.
I’ve always felt like I shouldn’t come, or that people wouldn’t want me there, if I wasn’t bringing, doing or be-ing something,
This felt expectation, whether I’ve placed it on myself or it has been placed upon me by others, is exhausting. It’s left me seeking situations and places where I can either be alone or where I can show up in a crowd and go unnoticed so that I don’t have to do, bring or be anything.
All the bringing, doing and be-ing comes at a cost, the cost of carrying this empty sort of feeling and experiencing a disconnection from others.
So I’m coming to a screeching halt with all this bringing, doing and be-ing. I’ve been so busy bringing, doing and be-ing that I’ve failed to just be, to simply show up.
That night, at Ben or Jordan’s apartment off 8th Avenue, we curled up on the couch and in chairs, huddled around the TV watching the Preds play with sushi bowls in hand.
Ben and Jordan wouldn’t let us bring anything, they didn’t let us help with dinner when we got there and they made us leave with the sink full of dirty dishes.
They only thing they let us do that night was show up.
So I’m learning to show up these days. It’s not something I know how to do nor something I am particularly good at, like bringing and doing (I’m pretty darn good at both of those). These two dear friends and siblings are some of the very people who want me to just show up, who create space for it and continue to invite me; they are teaching me to show up in a way I never have before.