What John learned from saying yes.
“The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.” –
I can’t say no to my mom.
That’s how I ended up at the parking lot of a retirement home in my community last week. Mom had reached out to see if I could visit a friend of hers. Gloria (whom I’d only previously met a handful of times) has Parkinson’s disease and had recently fallen, and Mom thought she might benefit from a little encouragement.
My calendar was fairly jammed up. Five speaking events. Several podcast interviews. Various meetings and deadlines. It would have been easy and honest to simply tell Mom that it wasn’t going to work; there just wasn’t time.
And yet, Mom’s entire life is about the transformational power of not making excuses, finding time, and showing up for others. So, I said yes and made the time.
Mom and I met at the facility parking lot and walked in together. Near the entrance of the building, Mom stopped to compliment a resident seated in her wheelchair on her earrings. She gushed about how cute the receptionist’s hair was. She paused on the walk back to say hello to a gentleman eating breakfast by himself.
While I would have put my head down and walked quickly and quietly to the room, Mom was shifting a simple visit to see her friend into an opportunity to show up for others. (And maybe to make a run for mayor of the retirement center!)
Finally, we made it back to her friend’s room. Mom walked in first. The joy in Gloria’s voice when she saw her friend gave me goosebumps. Mom then told Gloria she brought a special visitor as a surprise. (There’s my cue!)
I walked in and sweet Gloria looked at me in shock, covering her face with both hands in stunned disbelief. What neither Mom nor I knew was that this beautiful lady had recently received a copy of ON FIRE from her grandson and had just finished reading the chapter on Jack Buck’s visits to me in hospital when we walked into her room.
Gloria, Mom and I visited for 30 minutes. The most moving part of the conversation was the love these two dear friends shared. The way they looked into one another’s eyes when speaking. The gentle, knowing laughs easily shared between two friends. The understanding of pain that comes from friends who have done life together for decades. And the faithful hope that informs them that in spite of the struggles of this day and the losses they both have experienced, there is reason to believe that the foundation is still firm and the best is yet to come.
Having to leave for a work meeting, I hugged Mom and Gloria goodbye and left her room, changed.
Instead of racing to my car with my head down, I noticed and was kind to the man eating by himself, thanked the receptionist for helping us find the room and told the lady still camped outside in her wheelchair that mom my was right, her earrings were beautiful.
Brené Brown reminds us that the willingness to show up changes us by making us a little braver each time. It also makes us a little more compassionate to others, a little more grateful for gifts and a little more cognizant of what matters most.
My friends, I can’t say no to my mom.
And that’s a good thing because every time I’m with her it’s obvious to me – and now to you- how our lives are so much richer when we say yes to doing a little more and loving the one in front of us.
Today is your day. Live Inspired.