That's what you do. (Day 353)

I went to my friend's father's funeral today. Christine lost her Dad about a week ago. And she's more than a friend, she is a sister--a sorority sister. 

I know I am 40-something years old and my Delta Zeta days were more than half my life ago. But, there is something about our bond as sisters that is important and different than other friendships I have. It's like we could know nothing about one another or not see one another for years; but then when we do, we are right back in that sorority house living room on Diamond Street. There is a certain muscle memory to the sisterhood I shared with these women--so many I cannot count--that never leaves. 

I find peace in funerals and maybe I am an oddball; but funerals to me are such incredible moments of shared loved. It is like that sisterhood bond I just mentioned--when you are all in that service together, even if you are strangers, you are bonded in the love you have for both the departed and the grieving. There is peace in great love that is one of the few positive side effects of grief. 

Today, my beautiful, heartbroken friend spoke so beautifully of her Dad. I could not help but find amazing parallels between her father and my own--so many things I never knew about him. I was not exactly surprised; afterall, I love Christine--of course we would have something foundational in our lives that was similar. 

And that's the other thing about funerals--I don't think it matters so much if you knew the departed. What matters is if you know and love the grieving. My father also taught me that you show up for people in your life--"that's what you do, Tricia." I think until today I thought about this lesson as the fulfillment of a duty or an obligation--like the checking of a box. But, that is not what my father was trying to teach me. He was trying to teach me that you show up for those you love--simply out of love. 

It's so obvious now.

I did not know Christine's dad. But I know and love Christine and whomever she loves, I love. This is how it works for everyone in my sphere. This is how true love works and I think I am truly just figuring it out. It is not that I did not show up before; but it is that maybe I did not understand what was driving and compelling me forward. I thought I was showing up simply because "that's what you do." However, it is so much more, you show up simply because "that is what you do for the ones you love." 

I know I've written it before--but we need each other. We need to walk with one another in our hard, dark, messy times. We need to do this so we can emerge together in victory and in joy. We cannot turn away because we think we are in the way or we "didn't know them," or things seems too sad or we just think no one will notice if we are not present. We need to show up for one another, even if just in small ways, because showing up in love is what matters. This whole crazy, broken world will never be perfect; but it can be so much more when we show up in love. 

The opening hymn today was "Here I am Lord." This was my father's favorite hymn. I never knew why--I just thought it was something he enjoyed. One of the repeated refrains is "Whom shall I send?" Well, I think my Dad loved this hymn because it was a reminder that he was important in this world. When his heart compelled him to love someone, he showed up--because if not him, than who? God believed in him; just as God believes in all of us and wants us to show up for one another. 

If you pray, pray for my friend Christine. Losing your father is so hard--no matter how old you are or how old they were. And show up this week, friends, it's what you do for those you love.