I’m a pack animal. My students were picking what they wanted to be re-incarnated as, Lion! Otter! Something that FLIES! when their heads turned my way. I shrugged, “I guess it is un-cool but I really only want to be what I am. So, if I were re-incarnated into an animal, I would hope it would be as a labrador retriever. I just want a cozy place to sleep, a full tummy, and my people with me. It will be my job to make sure they are safe and happy.”
That is really all I want out of life, to be withmy people and make sure they are safe and happy. And I like being patted on the head occasionally too. I need my people. I need my people, and I need my people to need me.
I think Margaret Feinberg is a bit of a pack animal herself. In her new book, Fight Back with Joy she talks about getting a cancer diagnoses and asking her friends to remind her to find joy. Her people meet her in a hundred different ways. Text messages, red balloons, an article about the enormity of a cows tongue. They meet her with rides and grocercy store giftcards and notes to say they are praying. She speaks, in the first chapters of the book, about the strength and joy her people brought her.
And I was thinking of the joy that these services probably brought her friends.
November and December were dark around here, and one of my friends noticed. I got a text that when I got home I was to go upstairs. The girls would be fed, bathed and put to bed, and dinner would be delivered to me. They saw how much I needed a break, and I got it. The joy this brought me was remarkable, but so was the smile on my friend’s face when she showed up at my door. It was a joy to her to do this thing for me.
I am awesome in a crisis. I show up, with dinner. I tell you you have to go to bed and I won’t hear another word about it. I take your crying baby so you can pee. I bring you chocolate and wine. I am like Mary Freaking Poppins with the occasional swear.
At least, I used to be. But then I had babies and a full time job, and things are just a little crazier than I want them to be. I often can’t show up with dinner and the news that I will be babysitting tonight, even if I want to, and most of the time I do want to. But I let the, I can’t do everything, move into, so I may as well not do anything. Which is simply dumb. People don’t want a five course meal, they want to know that I am with them, because that is what brings people joy.
Margaret goes on to say that joy is our destiny, it is what God created us for, and we often are able to be joy to each other. I cheat everyone out of joy when I decide not to show up in a smaller capacity if I can’t show up in a big one. So, I am declaring that I am showing up.
By mailing a five dollar starbucks giftcard if I am too far to go get coffee
By texting, tweeting, facebook messaging, emailing people what I really think about them (that they are AWESOME!)
By sending hilarious pictures of my face (you should see the gallery on my phone).
By calling and letting the girls sing them a song.
By dropping a picture of a puppy on their facebook wall.
By calling and having take out delivered (Turns out you don’t have to be in the same city to get a meal covered.)
By sending real mail.
I’m showing up because I am a pack animal, but also because life has been brutal lately, and sometimes the only thing to do is to fight back with joy, and these things bring me joy.
I highly reccomend this book after reading the first bit. This isn’t some fluffy rainbows and butterflies joy is so easy stuff. Margaret is giving us the honest and beautiful truth. Check out her video.
I so believe this so. Oh I so want to be with my people and them with me and I want to be wanted. Don’t we all want to be wanted, needed, cherished, known and still loved. I so love doing those things too. I think no matter the size of what you do just the doing has a powerful impact because you communicate to that person that they are remembered by you, and you find them worthy of your time to do something. That is powerful love.
A funny story about me doing something like this occurred this week. My daughter Esther was going back to college for her final semester of student teaching and in the middle of the night as I woke I decided I was going to hide a couple of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in her stuff. I woke worked out and headed to work and then remembered. So I drove back home and hid the cups in her car and stuff and as I left I backed over all the garbage bags I had put out before I had left for work destroying them all. So back into the house to get 4 garbage bags and rebag it all. Needless to say something that was a 3 minute thing to do turned into 20 minutes.. Esther sent me thank you text when she found each one and I finally called her to tell her the rest of the story and we had a good laugh.
Love this, Mark! What a sweet way to show up for your daughter!
Love, love, love this Abby. This brought a huge smile to my face today. And love all your ideas of how to show up. Thank you for this. Grateful for you today!