Who would you show up for? Who are the people in your life that you would be present for rain or shine? Who would you jump on a plane to see? My friend, Genevieve, and I were driving back from Beaver Creek after an overnight celebrating Nancy’s birthday with the ladies. We were talking about how your dearest friends were those you could count on one hand. The ones you would show up for. She is one of my handful.
Recently I had a photo exhibit in a gallery in Denver. It was the first time I had done anything like this. My best friend, Heather, who has been my closest companion since we were teenagers felt it was an important enough occasion to warrant a trip. She brought her entire family and celebrated the event and even endured a wicked spring blizzard that wrecked the reception anyway, but she showed up for me. I felt blessed.
As I write this, I am sitting in a home overlooking the water in Bellvue, Washington. I have come to show up for my friend, Brenda, who lives in Sydney, and has made it all the way to the states for a visit. When I spent three months in China last summer she was my dearest friend. I had the trip of a lifetime in large part because I had this special relationship out of the gate. There was never a question that I would show up for Brenda. If she could make it to Seattle, I could make it to Seattle. So I jumped on a plane.
In his new book, “Showing Up for Life,” Bill Gates, Sr. writes about the importance of showing up for family, showing up for your community, showing up in every aspect to live a productive and memorable life. I especially liked his chapter on friendship and what it means to have friends who you can count on and who can count on you. He wrote affectionately about his bridge group and his friends who took care of him when his wife, Mary, died. He also wrote about being able to accept friends for who they are.
It isn’t always easy. I struggle with one friend in particular who won’t show up for me and won’t let me show up for him. Many people would probably say he isn’t much of a friend at all but he is someone dear from my past so I’m trying hard to accept who he is. I’m reminded of something wise Helene said at that same party at Beaver Creek. She talked about not only showing up for friends but learning to accept them. It seemed there was a back story of disappointment somewhere behind the comment but I thought it was a profound realization. Sometimes we show up for our friends by just letting go.