I’ve always worried about saying the right thing. Social situations have never been comfortable for me, not even with those to whom I’m closest. What if I say something that makes somebody else uncomfortable, something that embarrasses me, or, worse yet, what if I have nothing to say at all?
Prior to any and every social situation, I have always had to get past my own anxiety, that belief that somehow a performance is expected. But it’s not. At least not usually and never with those whom we hold closest.
It’s taken me years – 57 to be exact – to understand the value in just being present. In showing up. And in remaining even when the words are used up.
It’s really not about the words. It’s about the comfort in the quiet, the warm embrace of acceptance, the gentle touch of being present.
Waiting in line in the crowded lobby of my bank last week in Baltimore, surrounded by strangers lost each in their own thoughts, I suddenly heard a small voice say, “Good morning, everyone!”. And instantly, the crowd shifted, made room for one more, responded to the new presence in the room, the one who was truly present. This woman, about my age, brought us all into her circle, demanded that we show up.
It seems like such a small thing. The showing up. The being present. But it’s not. In fact, it’s everything.