Showing Up Is Half the Battle

It doesn’t matter if it’s a party or a networking event, a client meeting or a date with a friend. For as long as I can remember, the little voice inside me has resisted going, doing, putting myself out in the world.

But when I go, I’m so glad I did.

This morning I took a quick metropark hike after breakfast at a new restaurant with my husband. Then, we went to a dedication for a Habitat house, because they’re my client. In about three hours, I will speak to a crowd at the Rochester Writers Conference.

But when I awoke at 5:30 this morning, all I wanted to do was stay at home. Maybe go outside for a slow walk, but certainly not thrust myself into the midst of people, community, the world.

I’m sure it’s a personality trait, this reticence. The truth is that as outgoing as I seem to be – and I am, when put into these situations – my inner voice wants to keep me close to home.

Perhaps it’s fear of stepping out into the light or fear of being judged or disliked. Whatever the underlying reason, it is obviously irrational, and yet hard to resist.

Except, when I do go, as I did this morning, the whole world starts to take shape. Maybe I’m digging a hole for myself, I thought after the incredibly moving and inspiring homeowner dedication. Maybe I should attend every dedication in the interest of serving my client in the best way possible.

Going because it’s the right thing, because it’s good, because the inspiration happens when people come together. And my work – all of our work – is better when we are inspired.

I am self-reflective enough to be able to look at my patterns and change them if I deem it pertinent. And I do.

I may prefer to stay home in the bosom of the family room blankets and ponder this wonderful life, but when I do that it breeds insecurity and wonder because, exempt from the world, it’s hard to imagine the reality of it.

People who know me well usually can’t imagine that I am shy. Maybe introverted is the better word. Once in the limelight, I do shine and I relish the opportunity to speak my truth. But I have to get there first, and that’s most of the battle.

For anything good to transpire in life, we must show up completely and of our own will. We must share the cool breeze of a spring Saturday and recognize our role in being of service to others.

Maybe I don’t really matter to the outcome, but maybe I can effect some good, too. And if I don’t go, if I don’t try, I’ll never know.

The homeowner this morning is the kind of person I believe Habitat for Humanity was created for. Shannon is kind and humble, smiling and full of love.

She served in our military and defended our nation, and now she works with families as a social worker in the realm of foster care. She showers love on her three children. She works incredibly hard and yet still could not qualify for a mortgage through traditional means.

And so Habitat showed up, because Shannon shows up every day, and it took several years to this moment, where she received the key to her beautiful home, on a plot of land with tall trees and expansive grass. Her girls glide on their scooters down the driveway and out onto the road, where they’ve already made five best friends, Shannon told me.

The dedication brought together at least a dozen businesses and organizations in the Clarkston community, through an effort known as My Habitat Clarkston. Every single person there wished this family well and welcomed them into the fold.

What else could have made this day meaningful? Certainly not staying at home on my couch.

I can’t wait to edit the pictures and see the illumination of the cloud-quilted sky on so many smiling and tear-soaked faces. I can’t wait to understand the context of each image because I witnessed it for myself, heart and soul presented on the dirt, beside others so full of warmth and peace.

Toward the end, one of the pastors asked everyone to grasp hands and bow heads to offer a prayer of thanks for this momentous dedication.

Every moment is worth recognition. Every step is a blessing. Every difficult thing we do, whether because of the stories spinning inside our heads or because it is truly and completely difficult, is a gift – a gift that, once unwrapped, bears the fruit of knowledge, strength and growth for anyone who holds it close.

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