Have you ever received an invitation including the line, "No presents please, just your presence?" Besides being clever, it's also a good reminder that your presence is often the real gift.
A few weeks ago I hosted a Positivity Party event. I was delighted when someone who hadn't RSVPed arrived just as we began. It was my sister. She's not often able to make it to my sessions, and it meant so much to me that she made this one a priority. What a gift!
Indeed, we've had a lot of people showing up for us lately. When my husband exhibited and sold his photography at his first juried show two weeks ago, his parents were there; so were mine. And both of my sisters. And his sister who lives in PA, while the other sent her support via Facebook and texts. So did countless others from many miles away. Members of his photography club showed up. Other friends of the family showed up. We were heartened by each friendly face and encouraging message. When we had to scramble to get the booth from the pickup truck into our house in the snow, neighbors showed up. Many hands made light work and we felt so supported.
We experienced the same level of support this weekend when my daughter was in the school play as people showed up in person and virtually to encourage and applaud her.
I haven't always appreciated the significance of showing up, but I'm getting better at it. A friend's father passed away last year. When I heard the news I didn't know what to do. But I decided to just show up, driving over to her house right after work. I figured I could leave a note if she and her family weren't there, or just give her a hug and make myself scarce. Or stick around if she needed to talk. It turns out talking was just what she needed. I didn't have to share my own stories. I didn't have to solve anything. I just had to listen. I just had to show up.
Somebody going through something big? Whether the something big is happy or sad, exciting or scary, the best gift is often your presence.