Choosing to Show Up


I love this show. To be honest, there are times when the drama gets to be too much. But inevitably, there are moments of such love, acceptance and humor that I remember why I started watching it in the first place. I missed out on the last 3 weeks, but they’re all recorded so I’ve been catching up here and there.

I just watched episode 2:20, “New Plan” yesterday and was struck by a couple of things. For those of you who don’t watch, the show is based on the 1989 movie by the same name. And although there are some significant differences, the show revolves around the Braverman family, which has expanded to three generations. The family includes patriarch Zeek Braverman and matriarch Camille Braverman, their oldest son Adam, his wife Kristina and two children Haddie and Max; their oldest daughter Sarah and her two children Amber and Drew; their second son Crosby, his ex-girlfriend Jasmine and their young son Jabbar; and finally their youngest daughter Julia, her stay-at-home husband Joel and their young daughter Sydney.

The current back story is that Crosby is engaged to Jasmine, but unfortunately the wedding is off–as he slept with Adam and Kristina’s behavioral therapist, who had been working with their son Max (Max has Asberger’s syndrome). As a result, their behavioral therapist quit, and Adam and Kristina have been angry at and unforgiving of Crosby. Of course, so has Jasmine.

[Crosby has been so remorseful and has tried to make amends. Now, I’m not excusing his infidelity! And to be honest, I’m kind of sick of how every single show on t.v. seems to have at least one character who engages in this behavior. But this is beside the point of the story…]

So, in an attempt to try to win Jasmine back, Crosby has decided to sell his houseboat and motorcycle to acquire a down payment for a house. A house for him, Jasmine and Jabbar to live in and become a family again–kind of a “hail Mary pass”. When he goes to Adam to ask for his opinion and support, Adam shuts him out. So he asks Sarah if she’ll stop by the house and give him a female’s opinion. She gathers the rest of the siblings, and even goes to Adam to try to rally his support.

What she says to him is what resonated with me:

Sarah: You know, Crosby came to see me.
Adam: Yeah? Good for him.
Sarah: He wants us all to come look at the house tomorrow.
Adam:  Yeah, I know. Look, Sarah. We’re a bunch of adults. I don’t know what we’re supposed to do here. Help him pick out curtains? Do him a favor and keep him from doing an incredibly stupid thing which he’s doing in response to another incredibly stupid thing that he did? Which, by the way, can’t be undone. So, I don’t care.
Sarah: So, you’re not gonna come see the house.
Adam: No.
Sarah: Yeah. It might be a really stupid thing he’s doing. And it also might not work. Jasmine might never forgive him. But we don’t have that option. I hate what he did. You don’t have to like it either. You can be mad at him as long as you want. But he’s in pain and he needs us. He’s our brother. Just show up.

That last line–GOSH! How true is that!? When family members–who are part of our community (people we “do life” with) mess up and come to us in pain and in need of support, what should our response be? As family members, do we have the option to just shut them out? Can we choose to not forgive? And even if we don’t know what to say or how to respond, just showing up can mean everything, and make all the difference.

If you’re interested in seeing this entire episode, click here.