My friend Marcel got on his 2016 Indian Chief Vintage motorcycle and drove 852 miles from Scottsdale, Arizona to my home in Denver, Colorado. Took him three days. He wore his leather chaps and cowboy boots the entire way. When he pulled into my driveway, he immediately took out a present stashed safely in his side saddle. And then he handed it to me with the most grateful smile. It was a rare single malt whiskey made in the alps of his home country of Switzerland.
“You know you could have mailed the bottle,” I teased Marcel. “It would have cost you thirteen bucks to post, rather than thirteen hours on the bike!”
His reply has stayed with me, now six months later.
“Tommy, when I had my prostate cancer operation last year, you flew down to Phoenix, so you could be by my bedside when I awoke from surgery. You took care of my wife during this stressful time. I will never forget what you did for me and Pam. I’m thankful to have a friend show up like you.”
I was speechless.
Besides my father, Tom Spaulding Sr., and my maternal grandfather, Anthony D’Aquanni, no other man on this planet has had an impact on my life more than Jerry Middel. I wrote about Jerry in my first book, It’s Not Just Who You Know, when it was released back in 2010. I’ve never had a man invest in me like Jerry. He said the prayer at my wedding. Co-signed the mortgage loan on our home. For the past fifteen years I’ve spoken to or had breakfast with Jerry at least once a week. I’ve come to call my time with him “Friday’s with Jerry”. I share everything with Jerry – marriage, life, work…. everything! Besides my wife, Jerry knows my heart better than anyone. He has shown up in my life. And I’m a better human being because of it.
Last summer my friend, Scot, lost his teenage son, Teddy. Bullying, hazing, and the improper use of social media are real problems in our country. Real problems that our schools and communities need to address. And if these problems are not addressed, more kids like Teddy are going to take their own life because of the humiliation, embarrassment, and anguish caused by cyber bullying. I hope Teddy’s life can inspire others to love better. I knew Teddy. He was a great kid. And he had a beautiful heart. I texted Scot often this past year telling him that I was thinking and praying for his family. And that I loved him. I mailed him a book, written by a friend of mine, on grieving the loss of a child. Scot mailed me a handwritten note last month thanking me for showing up in his life during this trying time. I keep it as a reminder that we need to show up and comfort those that need comfort.
Every kid has a favorite aunt and uncle or relative. They might not admit who it is, but they all do. All three of my kids would say, hands down, that Uncle Doug and Aunt Susan are their favorites. Heck, Susan and Doug are not even my aunt and uncle, and they’re my favorite too! If you met the Stantons for just three minutes you would understand why. Of all the things that I love and respect about my sister and brother-in-law, I would say their commitment to show up in the lives of Anthony, Caroline, and Tate is most humbling. Last week Susan and Doug attended Anthony and Tate’s hockey games. Last month it was Caroline’s basketball game. And they have been showing up since the kids were born. They have children and grandchildren of their own. They have jobs and busy lives. Yet they have invested in my children like they are their own.
My best friend from high school, Corey, got divorced a couple years ago. Watching someone I love and care about go through something that painful was eye opening for me. I’ve watched Corey overcome all kinds of challenges – yet help raise three amazing boys. During his separation and divorce, I felt committed to show up in Corey’s life. I called him every day for a year. Told him he was a good man. Told him that his best days are ahead of him. Every day. To be honest, I’d never shown up for a friend like this before. And I became a better person because of it.
I’ve learned that when we allow others to show up in our lives, we are humbled.
But when we show up in the lives of others, that’s when our lives are truly blessed.
Our relationships with our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and clients – are all in need of us showing up in their lives. Doesn’t matter if you have a friend battling cancer, losing a child, or going through a divorce – when you show up in other’s lives… they will show up in yours. And they will drive 852 miles on their motorcycle to show you how much it meant to them.