“Being There” for Others

By Marcus Earle - 02/02/2023


There is currently much going on in my life, not more or less than others, but enough to preoccupy me and distract from this writing. This, along with friends who are struggling, led me to contemplate how I have shown up for and in turn how I have felt supported and nurtured by others. So, I am asking the question what are we really meaning when we say, “I support you, I will be thinking of you, I will be praying for you, I will send good energy your way,” etc.? I have said each of these things at some point to various people and heard them shared with me.

Mostly, when I hear these phrases I appreciate the sentiment, say thank you and we both move on. I must admit, however, there are other times, like now, when I have a longing for something more. As I reflect on what this “more” would include, I concluded: asking how I am doing when you have time to listen – asking if I would like a hug and holding on until the tension leaves and/or the tears come (this may take some time with my wife and male friends) – empathizing while challenging me to consider where growth is waiting for me – and the tangibles of “let’s take a walk,” “I would like to come over and bring dinner,” and at times “maybe we should do something different right now like play a game, go watch a movie,” etc.

My wife has always been good about putting her desire to support others into action. As I am writing this, she is writing notes to people in our lives. Even more profound are we willing to do this with those different from us whether the difference is reflected in homelessness, race, or non-normative sexuality or gender? This is my ongoing desire to work with what I would appreciate from others and take action to show up with the time to engage and ask what they need, with the intention of following through. How valued and inspired each of us would feel if we moved beyond loving intentions to loving actions. To all those who have taken time with me, thank you, I am a more fulfilled person for it.

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