Keep Showing Up for Life

I have a friend who, in the midst of a conversation I was having with him, said to me, “Keep showing up for life.”

It was like a dose of Advil for a bad headache. Keep showing up for life!

The most unfortunate thing about life and the curve balls it throws us is that there is no instant fix. A bad time emotionally, spiritually, psychologically – or all three – is like a stomach virus. The most exasperating thing to hear when a stomach virus is wreaking havoc on one’s intestinal system is that “you’ll just have to let it run its course.”

That is, however, the awful truth. Viruses seem to have a mind of their own. They do not care what pill or elixir you take. They invade your physical space and stay there until they are ready to go. Spiritual viruses act much the same way.

A friend of mine, going through a tough time right now, complained that life is not fair. That fact gives many people many a virus, and the timing of said virus, showing up and wreaking havoc with one’s spirit, is never “the right time.

And yet, viruses do pass. I don’t know if the physical body is healthier once a virus runs its course, but it does seem that our spirits are stronger once we let these viruses – also called “life lessons,” run their course.

This directive to me – to keep showing up for life – has been particularly helpful. Our tendency when we have a virus, when we do not feel well, is to drop out of sight, out of life. We tend to want to isolate ourselves and let the darkness cover us completely so that we cannot see and people can barely see us. That behavior, however, does not make the virus go away. It in fact makes it worse.

So, showing up for life is a life-saving maneuver. Going out, talking, holding up one’s head, dreaming, planning, mapping once’s course, in spite of the virus, is a life-saving maneuver. It is hydrating one’s spirit, because spiritual, emotional and spiritual viruses dry us out. Just as when we have a physical virus the greatest danger is to be dehydrated, a dried-out spirit is just as dangerous.

I am sharing this because during the holiday season, many people are their most miserable. We as people remember what and who we have lost, we mourn losses and fail to celebrate our gains. We look at cheerful ads on television and cannot relate; they in fact make many of us feel worse. We don’t want to show up for life. We don’t want to move at all.

It’s not an option, staying dormant in our malaise. Malaise tends to turn into despair.  If we have life in our limbs and if we are not clinically depressed,we need to get up and move…showing up for life. If we are clinically depressed, we need to get it treated …and still get up and move. Depression is an illness, and just like diabetes or hypertension, it can and must be treated.

Because sitting in a saucer of malaise is not an option. It keeps us from showing up for life.

A candid observation …


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