What can I do? When things feel off track in our lives or in our world, most of us ask ourselves this question. We want to help, to act – do something! Yet so often, there isn’t anything really obvious to do, which makes us feel helpless, confused, and even more distraught.
One thing that is often overlooked is also one of the most powerful ways to have a big impact – which is to simply show up. Show up for your friends with a phone call, email, or text asking simply, “how are you?” Show up for your children or grandchildren with your full attention sans phone or other distraction. Show up for your friends or for others in the church with coffee, or a meal. Show up on Sunday with a friendly smile and a “welcome!” Show up for your neighbors by cleaning off their walk as well as yours. Show up for your own life, fully present.
The power of our presence is also instructive when it comes to our response in our greater community. For example, the immigration-advocacy group, Fuerza Latina has launched 9 different committees to begin work in various ways to tend to the safety, protection and care of immigrants in our community. At the meeting of the Sanctuary City group on Monday, I was struck by the power of two dozen of us in the room together, all self-selected citizens just wanting to “do something,” and struggling to figure out once again, what to do.
There were CSU leaders, dairy farmers, teachers, social workers, and scientists – and everything in between. Together we stumbled through the questions and task before us, the question of organizing ourselves and coordinating, and attempting to articulate what it was we hoped to accomplish. I’m not sure what will come of it, yet the showing up together remains important. We need to be together, learn together, question and struggle together.
Throughout the meeting it struck me how many other meetings just like this are happening not just in our city, but across the country. Democracy and human relationships are clumsy and slow and yet also beautiful and kind and so well-intentioned. Sometimes the lessons of showing up aren’t just about what you get done, but about cultivating the patience and the perspective to remain steadfast through all the messiness of the real work.
Fuerza Latina is just now getting clear about how best to leverage the great desire to “do something” that exists in our community. I’ll let you know as these and other more action-based opportunities become more clear.
Until then, showing up for one another and for our immediate circle remains vital, and foundational. We have a long road ahead, and our presence for one another and in our own lives is what will make all the difference as to whether or not we can keep showing up for our neighbors – and whether we can, as I said on Sunday, keep doing so with joy, laughter, love – and dancing!
Thank you for your partnership, and for your continued presence.