The morning after Mom died, a dear friend appeared on my doorstep with a dish of warm apple cobbler.
She did this because she loves me—and because, like me, she grew up in a culture where such practical gestures of kindness were common when someone was in need.
She was also one of several friends who came to sit with Mom in those last weeks to give me a caregiving break.
The power of such in-person gestures propped me up when I felt like my world was being swept from beneath me, and I’ll be forever grateful.
This topic is on my mind both because of my recent departure from Facebook, and the response I’ve received when I recently performed similar acts of showing up.
Now, I’m not tootin’ my own horn because I’ve let myself be caught up in my own stuff plenty of times when I should’ve been reaching out to someone in need.
But the recent responses of surprised gratitude and tears have reminded me that such in-person gestures are too-often a thing of the past—and that many are hurting much more than appears from afar.
Sadly, it seems that the hands-on touch of caring is a dwindling dynamic within the harried pace and celebrated efficiencies of our technological society.
An emoji of sadness is the default stand-in for a sympathy card.
A community post to social media replaces a telephone call of support or even a text.
E-cards from free online accounts shoot across the tendrils of the Web instead of arriving as ink-smeared, handwritten notes delivered to real-life mailboxes that creak when you open the door.
Such methods of showing up are powerful because of the human touch.
The willingness to step into the pain of another.
To carve time out of a busy schedule to remind someone they matter.
To extend the love we all need to feel from one another.
Showing up in person is powerful—whether it takes the form of a hug, a call, a handwritten note…or a warm apple cobbler when your world has been turned upside down.
This post first appeared in the January 18, 2020 edition of The Empowered Traveler™ newsletter. To receive priority delivery, please sign up below.
Feature photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash.