My dad always said, “No one disappoints you more than your own friends or family.”
Super encouraging, right?
And while my dad is a great encourager for many other times in my life, this phrase always stuck with me. While it may seem harsh, it’s a sad truth that many of us have faced or experienced.
For me, the biggest learning experience of this phrase happened in between my junior and senior year of high school. That summer my grandpa passed away, my dad lost his job and my boyfriend broke up with me all within the span of about three weeks.
I remember not knowing what to do, where to turn to or who to talk to except my bible study. I had reached out telling them what had happened via text and that I would really love it if they could come to the funeral for my grandpa.
The funeral day came and afterwards I looked for my bible study, my bible study leaders and saw that no one showed up.
As we stood in the receiving line afterwards, I remember holding back tears and being so angry that my “community” didn’t come to support me or my family. I couldn’t understand how this could have happened, when I was at my weakest, feeling like I was again punched in the stomach by people who were supposed to be characterized as the ones who were my Christian community .
However, about halfway through the line, two girls that I was close to from school that weren’t in my bible study showed up. I was so shocked that they came that I couldn’t even get words out of my mouth before I started crying in front of them, feeling so deeply loved by their ability to care for me during a really hard time of life. I still tear up thinking about the kindness in these girls hearts who showed up for me and offered their shoulders to cry on and stayed with me the rest of the day.
I don’t remember what we talked about or even what we did the rest of that day, all I can remember is the feeling of having someone, who wasn’t asked to come, show up in support of me during a really hard moment in my life.
These are the same girls who came to my theatre shows when I went to a different school when no one else out of my friend group would show up. These are the girls who are still my closest friends, the ones I asked to stand next to me on my wedding day, the ones who will end up being the godparents of my kids. These are the girls I trust with my life.
I’m sure you can think of people in your life who have let you down and it’s easy to dwell and be angry with them.
I hope you don’t do that - I let it fester in my for too long after that summer and if I could do that season of life all over again I would have forgiven and forgot about it and moved on with my other friendships.
I can say now that I have a new Christian Community and am in a bible study that is amazing. We have people that are constantly showing up for each other, these are what we call forever friends because they have the proximity and permission from us to call us out when we aren’t there for one another.
It is so important to show up for one another - especially so when you aren’t even asked to come. Supporting one another empowers us as a community and shows each individual person that they matter. Don’t you want to be a part of that? Who wouldn’t want to encourage, empower and encourage each other?
We were created to live in community with another - not isolation, so let’s prove my dad wrong and start lifting our friends and family up instead of letting them down.
P.s. If you ever need help figuring out how to show up for someone check out the 9 examples below:
Go to a concert your friend is playing in even if you don’t like the genre of music.
Accept an invitation to grab dinner for a friends surprise birthday party.
Wake up at 4am to stand in line to cheer on your friend during their first marathon.
Turn off Netflix and go to your friends improv showcase.
Attend a friend’s family members funeral (even if it was their second-great-aunt who they barely knew).
Accept the open invite to go to trivia.
Go and make a sign for your friend at their intramural sand volleyball game.
Even if you don’t like wings, go watch the game at your local bar with your pals.
Don’t be boring - bring a bottle of wine and attend your friends weekly board game night.