Showing Up


Sitting across from me in the coffee shop is my 95 year old father reciting lyrics from a song that matters to him today. The song was written 65 years ago but for my dad it could have been released an hour ago. He’s been doing this my whole life. Making the moment shamelessly timeless. The energy rises off his face. His delight overtakes me.

When we talk we talk about the stuff that matters – jazz, books, road trips, classroom lessons, health, the weather, love, things on our to do list, thinking out loud together. But the real message is the moment. The minute in which we share an experience with another person is the gold that sits at the core of life. Showing up seems to be the only necessary skill set.

A good friend of mine, a writer, e-sent me the following quote with an apology for not getting it to me in a handwritten form: “Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

This was written by Paul Bowles in his work “The Sheltering Sky”. It leaves me with the thought that there is plenty to hold on to – today. And it’s not “out there”. It’s so close we’ll miss it if we aren’t paying attention.