They Showed Up
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Adina Bailey, Co-Founder, TakeThemAMeal.com on Oct 7, 2015
The book, Just Show Up, authored by Kara Tippets and Jill Lynn Buteyn was released on October 1st! As part of the book launch, Kara's community challenged people to describe times in their lives when others "just showed up".
I began reflecting on times in my life when I faced difficulty and the friends who unexpectedly "showed up" to help me and my family. This remembering brought a quick smile because the first examples that popped immediately to mind involved POULTRY!
First, when my dear friend, Rachel Beery, was hospitalized and I was coordinating help for her family (which led to the creation of TakeThemAMeal.com), I became a bit overwhelmed myself. I also had young children at home and worry for my friend consumed me. I was fielding questions via phone and email from other friends (no texting for me 8 years ago), and while I didn't realize it at the time, I was exhausted.
One day, early on in Rachel's hospitalization, another friend knocked on my door. She knew what we were trying to do to help Rachel's family and she "just showed up" on my front porch with a rotisserie chicken. The chicken was still in the store bag and didn't include any fancy sides. That's all my family needed. My husband, who was spending a good bit of time with our friends at the hospital, was delighted to find the chicken in the refrigerator when he arrived at home.
Rachel and I, Summer 2015
The lesson I learned as I reflected on this gesture later is that "showing up" with a simple meal for someone who may be indirectly affected by a difficult situation is extremely thoughtful. In this case, we were hurting for our friends, but someone thought to care for us as well. Eight years later, I still remember that chicken like it was yesterday.
Move ahead seven years to November 2014 and my family was hurting for a very different reason. My 61 year-old dad died from lung cancer on the day before Thanksgiving. We knew his time with us on earth was drawing to a close, but we anticipated that he would be with us for a few more weeks. Although he was dying, my dad's death came rather unexpectedly.
I still cannot believe the way a sweet friend and neighbor of my dad "just showed up" for my family. In a little over 24 hours after my dad died, a full, completely homemade Thanksgiving meal was delivered to us at my mom's house by a neighbor. Even remembering the meal brings tears to my eyes because I know the work and love it took to prepared such a big meal in such a short period of time.
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, salad, cranberry sauce, rolls, and pumpkin pie filled the table. It was all there.
My family was trembling with new grief and a precious woman made sure that we would still have Thanksgiving dinner. I will never forget that meal. My children will never forget that meal. We felt deeply loved.
A rotisserie chicken still in the store bag and a full Thanksgiving feast brought about the same feeling - we were acknowledged in our sadness and we felt loved because someone chose to "just show up". The kindness meant as much, if not more, than the physical nourishment.
Photo of me with two of my children taken not long after the care we received, December 2014. We were loved well during a sad time.
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