Were you alone at your graduation? What about the day you got the job you wanted? Or what about the day you lost your job, were you alone then? Were you alone when you found out you were going to be a parent? What about the day the baby was born?
Have you ever felt like you were busting at the seams wanting to tell someone how excited you were or how upset you were? Or have you ever been so frustrated or angry that you felt that if you didn't talk to someone soon, you'd explode?
Lots of us have been alone at really important times of our lives.
I heard recently about a young girl in foster care who let everyone she knew know that she was going to be graduating from high school. She had no one who would be there cheering when her name was called. My friend found out about it and decided she would be there. She took pictures as this young lady donned the cap and gown and as she walked across the stage to receive her diploma, and afterwards alongside her. My friend was genuinely proud of this young girl who had overcome so much and was on her way to a bright future.
It brought tears to my eyes when my friend told me that she had decided to be the one who showed up for this young girl who had no one (or at least no one who was functional enough) to show up for her. It was emotional for me because I had been alone at my high school graduation. I had worked hard and earned honors, but none of that mattered. When graduation was over, I walked by myself, past all the kids whose families were there hugging them and taking pictures, to take my cap and gown back to the gym. I got in my car and drove to my little apartment. It was also my 18th birthday. Already feeling sorry for myself, this is the song that played on the radio on the way home--Alone Again, Naturally!
I lived. I'm fine. In fact, I have a great life now. I hadn't thought about that in years. But my friend telling about showing up for that young girl brought it all back, and it made me think of how awesome it would be if more people would do what my friend did and show up for those in our community who have no one else to show up for them.
Imagine a group of people who check in with the local high school to find out which kids haven't asked for tickets to their graduation. What if these people showed up and cheered? What if a local church hosted a celebration right after graduation? What if there were neighbors right in our community who took befriending others to another level, making themselves available to hear the good news when young people who are alone have good news to share or challenges for which they could use your wisdom?
This is the kind of thing that the Love Is Action Community Initiative exists to encourage.
You don't have to have experienced being alone to help someone who is. You just have to care enough to show up in someone's life. YOU just might be the best gift a person who is alone has ever received.
To share your ideas about how we can be better neighbors, please join us at upcoming the WHAT YOU CAN DO Townhall meeting.
Rhonda Sciortino, the national champion of the Love Is Action Community Initiative, is the author of 13 books, including Succeed Because of What You’ve Been Through. She used the coping skills from her abusive childhood to create personal and professional success. She built two successful businesses, then turned her attention to helping others to find their purpose and real success.