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How to show up for our friends in need.

“Reservations are made for you next Sunday at 5pm….”

I received this text from my dear friend, Patrick, several years ago.

It was during a time in my life that was extremely chaotic. Our book ON FIRE was about to be released. The publishing company had booked an exhausting tour of media and speaking events spanning several countries and several dozen states over several months. Stress was palpable, expenses were high, cashflow was tight, and things at home were challenging.

And through it all, Beth and I were managing the strains any couple face while also raising 10-, 8-, 6- and 4-year-old-children.

The text from my friend, Patrick, shared that he and his bride, Allison, were sending Beth and me out for a date night. The restaurant was booked. The meal was covered. The rides were arranged. Everything was taken care of.

He added if my excuse for not going was that I needed a babysitter, it wasn’t a valid one. He and his wife were coming to our house 30 minutes early and taking care of our kids. They wanted us to have some uninterrupted time together as a couple and they weren’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer.

My friends, that date night was seven years ago.

Now, I don’t remember the restaurant we visited. I can’t remember what we ate or how it tasted. And I don’t remember what dress Beth wore or what we spoke about that evening.

I just remember that during a super busy time in our lives and a stressful time in our marriage that we had a date to look forward to on our calendar. I remember several uninterrupted hours with Beth laughing, dreaming, talking and simply reconnecting while dining. And I remember how that date buoyed us during a time we needed some support.

In other words, I remember that during a frenzied season, a friend sensed a need, stepped forward, provided an incredible gift and made a mighty difference.

While Beth and I were deeply moved and extremely grateful, we weren’t the only ones. Each of our children were positively impacted, too. That evening they asked questions like, “Who were those people? Why did they do that for us? Why are they so nice? and When are they coming back so we can hang out again?”

My friends, so often we recognize a need in a family, a struggle in a friend, or a challenge in our community and wonder what we can even do to help.

While it’s easy to assume there is little we can do, be reminded of the power in simply showing up for others. Be aware there is no better way to reveal you care than by investing your time. And be certain there is no legitimate excuse we can make as to why we can’t offer our time a bit more frequently.

It turns out the things we do for ourselves soon fade. But the investment of time we make in others positively changes lives and remains long after we are gone. Just ask four kids who seven years later still remember two amazing babysitters.

Let’s make a difference for others. And let’s not take ‘no’ for an answer.

This is your day. Live Inspired!

8 replies on “Do You Have Reservations?”

Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory and the reminder to show up in kind and supportive ways for those we care about.

Thank you John do the reminder. A few years ago I was flying from San Francisco to Charlotte and volunteered to switch a first seat for a middle seat in coach in the very back of the plane for a young marine as a “thank you for your service” gesture. It didn’t cost me a thing but a little inconvenience. That young man waited until I exited the plane to shake my hand and thank me. These are powerful moments if we simply are aware to act upon them.

Thank you John for sharing this lesson of love. My very good friend lost her home during Hurricane Ida in August of 2021. Although she is grateful for her life, she is so frustrated with the process of her getting back into her home. She was just venting to me how to she wants to be back in her home and out of the trailer she has been living in since August. Her contractor said he cannot get to her until July of this year. My friend needs a special night out to temporarily sign out of her issues and focus on her and her husband. Thank you John for sharing. (I’m planning something very special for her)

Such a wonderful message. Thank you. And thank you for all of your personal stories. Doing life, sharing life, loving others. Much appreciated.

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.