Recently, more than one person has said to me, “I don’t know how you do it,” in reference to the latest volunteer position I’ve put myself in: 10 year old boys soccer. Yesterday, as I drove away from the field feeling like I’d spent more time scolding than coaching I thought to myself, “Some days I just show up.”
I thought about that a lot last night, initially feeling rather defeated. I’m here to tell you, though, that I’ve decided that showing up is a good thing, not anything to beat myself up over. It’s perfectly fine that I showed up and maybe wasn’t a five-star coach for a night. Here’s why – because I showed up! I chose to volunteer and I did. I said I’d be there to help the kids learn and I was. And that’s what matters sometimes – having someone there. That was me last night.
Truth be told, sometimes I just show up for a lot of things. Other times I give more than my mere presence to a situation. No matter which end of the spectrum, though, I’m giving my all at that moment.
A year and a half ago I told you all about one of my favorite tattoos (although picking favorite tattoos is kind of like picking favorite kids – they all mean something to me!). Be. Long story made short – I strive to be intentional and present in my life. Some days that’s simply standing on a field with more than a dozen 4th grade boys. Some days being present is just that.
Here I am. Play soccer…
Other days, I’m able to put forth a little more intentional effort and organize drills and activities that keep their attention and motivate them. Whatever happens at practice, though, I know that it’s taken what I have to give that day. And that’s what volunteering, that’s what showing up is about. Giving.
In a lot of ways, that’s what all of life is about. Sure, we get paid to do some things, but we’re mostly voluntarily taking those jobs, entering into marriage, having children. Mostly. I know there are exceptions to everything, but I’m speaking only to the most of the time willing stuff we do in life. And for all that stuff in life…I give…like GIVE. And on some days, giving looks an awful lot like showing up.
I figure it this way, when you stop showing up, when you stop giving, then you’ve stopping living – you’re giving up. So, if you see it my way, just showing up is much better than the alternative. And, I’ll continue to do so.
That said, this is no way means we should give of ourselves until there’s nothing left for ourselves. I’ve done that before too. The recovery was long and hard. I won’t volunteer for this coaching position next year. It takes a lot out of me. I find myself just showing up so often with this team that it’s obvious to me that the position takes more from me than is healthy to give. That recognition is fairly new for me. I think finding balance in the giving I find myself called to do is likely a life-long balancing act. For now, I try to recognize the imbalance when it occurs, fulfill my commitments, and step back from volunteering in a way that allows me to give better to the things and people that are my priority.
Just some thoughts for your consideration. If you actively read this post, rather than just showing up, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you just showed up, that’s okay too. We all do what we can and sometimes not commenting is the best course of action.