Showing Up

They say that 90 percent of life is showing up. As a spiritual director, I can tell you that sometimes that’s all that is needed.

I hadn’t been back to the gross anatomy lab in some time, preferring to spend time at the simulation center at the medical school. I also think that after awhile the students need to know that they can stand on their own feet.

But today was their final exam and I’ve always gone over and offered some support and a post-exam meal. I felt strange returning to the lab, but this year’s crop of students are some of the friendliest students I’ve encountered at the med school. I walked in and immediately a group of three students engaged me in conversation. One even whipped out their stress guy doll and said “Still using him!” It made the others jealous and they asked if I had any more with me.

“Those darn things cost $500. I have to find a cheaper one but I can’t find any as cute as this guy.”

The students were surprised that they were so expensive and then remarked, “Well, the main thing is that you’re here! Thanks!”

“I’ll be praying!”

Even the atheists said “Thanks!”

Just then Sarah, a student I got to know after calming her down after her first exam, caught sight of me and said, “Oh thank God! We were hoping you’d be here! We were just talking about that and said “Man, I wonder if Mike is coming! I could really use someone to talk to to calm down.”

“Hey, free lunch in the lounge after the test!” I bellowed as they entered the lab.

Lots of “thanks” and “awesome” followed the announcement.

Later we headed to the lounge for pizza and wings and even a little salad. And Sarah was one of the first to arrive.

“How was it?” I asked inquiring about the test.

“Who cares? It’s over!”

I laughed and agreed as we clinked pizza slices.

“Hey thanks so much for everything!” Sarah said.

“No problem. I mean all I did was show up!”

“Um, sometimes that’s enough! See ya at the memorial service…oh wait! We’re cleaning the lab Friday and saying good bye to our cadavers. It’s gonna be sad!”

“Sarah, I’ll be there!”

And her face said it all….gratitude. Not for me but for all that she’s learned from that person who donated their body to her and her classmates and my honoring that gratitude.

Sometimes showing up is more than enough.

Because when we show up, we have the opportunity to meet God and to find gratitude in that moment together.

And that, friends, is sometimes all we need.

Later Sarah caught

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