Standing at a wedding recently, I thought “the only thing I have to do right now, the only purpose for me being here, is to bear witness to this moment. That’s why we’ve been invited here. To sit. To watch. To witness as these two people commit themselves to each other.”
Wow. How powerful is that? I don’t have to do anything. I just have to be here.
I think that’s actually the way it is with a lot of life. Particularly in relationships. You don’t have do anything. I mean of course you do. But one of the biggest things in marriage and in friendship and even in family is being witness to another person’s journey. To his or her life. To watch it and to say I see you.
One of my best friends had a baby recently. Of course, I’ve been putting pressure on myself to take all kinds of food over there since before the baby was even born. I’m sure food would be nice and welcomed. But most of all I think our friends just want to spend time with us. To hang out like we did before the baby. To be around and present while they navigate this new chapter. To bear witness to their journey.
On the flip side, I’ve got a friend going through a break-up. There’s nothing we can do to fix it. To put these two people back together. Sure we can help with some logistical things. We can provide meals or distractions. But more importantly than that it’s being there. We’re here. We see you. We love you. It’s ok. It’s going to be ok.
Every September, I get into a weird funk. I’m super moody and reflective. It’s like a dark night of the soul kind of thing. This weekend I was talking to some girlfriends about it and they were like oh yeah, it’s September already. You’ve gotten like this every September since we’ve known you. They can’t take away the emotional discomfort I feel in September, but them acknowledging and validating my experience — witnessing it — made me feel less alone.
Sometimes in life, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to fix it, you don’t have to make it better or take it to the next level even. You don’t even have to be the absolute best version of yourself. You just have to be there. To bear witness.