In August, I had the chance to attend the Catholic Writers Conference which was held in conjunction with the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show and the Catholic New Media Conference in Arlington, TX. It was a great opportunity to learn, be inspired, and meet other Catholics who have a similar desire to spread the Gospel.
Throughout all of the events I attended and all that I learned, one theme jumped out at me: Show Up. I realize this isn’t an innovative thought. It isn’t new to me and it’s not new to you either. In fact, through the years you’ve probably heard this old Woody Allen quote more than once,.-“Ninety percent of life is just showing up.”
But, at the conference I learned how important this lesson can be. For instance:
- When you make an appointment-show up.
- When you volunteer to help-show up.
- When you get the opportunity to meet other authors, bloggers, speakers and publishers-show up!
- Making connections with others online is good but when you can-show up in person. It’s even better.
Keep in mind, though, that you can’t just be a warm body in the room. You need to be mentally present as well as physically present. You need to be engaged in what you’re doing and have enthusiasm for it. While I was at the conference I tried my best to focus on what I was doing and not let myself be torn between the Conference and my family. When I was with my family, I tried my best to focus on them and not let thoughts and activities from the Conference encroach upon our time together. [Note: I said “tried” not “succeeded.” 😉 ] When I got called away from the conference to take my son to the doctor after he broke his arm, I switched from “Author Mode” to “Mom Mode.”
(As I said to my son, “I always knew you’d break something. I just thought it would be hearts!”)
Really, showing up is a way we express our love for each other. In fact, sometimes it’s all you need to do. When my sister passed away from cancer almost eight years ago, the people who “showed up” for the funeral supported me far more than they’ll ever know. I felt their love and their friendship buoy me in the weeks and months that followed her death. When someone you know dies and you feel like you need to “do something” to help their loved ones, do your best to show up at the funeral. It will mean more to them than you realize. Give them a call a few weeks after the funeral just to tell them that you’re thinking of them.
But often it’s not major tragedies that call upon us to “show up”. More often than not, “showing up” is about being there for a friend when they’re going through a hard time. Give them your undivided attention. Don’t check your watch. Don’t rush them. Don’t try and finish their sentences. Just listen. Even more importantly, don’t wait for hard times to strike your friends or family. “Show up” for them each time you’re together. I guarantee that they’ll never doubt how you feel about them.
Just because I’ve learned this lesson doesn’t mean I always practice what I preach. I let my busy schedule take precedence over my relationships more often than I’d like to admit. Maybe I’m a slow learner. Maybe I’m just human. Who knows? What I do know is this-when lessons like this come to me, it usually means that God is trying to tell me something.
Gotta go! It’s time to Show Up for my family!