what I’m learning about showing up
I’m learning that it is so much harder than it sounds. I’m learning that it requires great effort without immediate results.
In the Town of Six Traffic Lights, as best as I can remember, I saw a small, yet strong community of people who showed up. Majority of them were farmers. They took little time off. Even when their family went on vacation to the beach, they often stayed back. People in my town (and I dare say, people in my culture and the 1990s) graduated, secured a job and stayed in that job. The pharmacist got her degree, returned to the community and served the people. The doctor moved to town, opened up his practice and served the people. My school teachers juggled home life, community life, social life, and school life until retirement. I witnessed a culture, a community who showed up every day, not seeing results immediately, but eventually.
Yet the farmer’s seeds became bounty.
And the pharmacist and doctor gained trust and clients and patients.
Even the teachers gave us knowledge to stand upon. (Ms. Caldwell, Mrs. Williamson, I am the product of your showing up!)
But what if you don’t want to show up? What if you’re fed up, exhausted, so over this?
One of our kids is showing up every day for practice, not knowing if he’s going to get any playing time.
Ben shows up to write a message, delivers it on Sunday, and shows up to write another for Sunday comes again.
A friend of mine keeps getting up and loving her kids though she lost one too soon.
Another friend keeps loving his family in the smallest of ways because that’s all he’s got the strength to give right now.
A close friend is walking circles around a piece of property, believing God to provide.
My mom and dad show up to take care of my aging grandfather.
I’m learning that on the days I don’t feel like showing up, the world still goes on. But it goes on without my contribution. It goes on without my faith.
Big or small, our contribution matters. I’m learning that showing up is how we build something great. Showing up says I’m going to do my part, no matter the size. Today and the next day after that. This isn’t about taking a break. This is about not giving up, not letting something significant feel insignificant.
I’m learning that showing up looks like this…
Here’s my story:
Jack and Anna are our blue house neighbors in Love Where You Live. I tell the story of our first neighborly encounter when we moved in and have recently asked that you pray for Anna as she battled lung cancer. Let me use our story to tell you about what I’m learning about showing up…
We needed a new fence between our house and theirs and were considering it when Jack approached us and asked if we could split it 50/50. We had our first handshake. In a few weeks we had a new fence, but yet it was invisible. We hit our sports balls over and they seemed to fly back within hours! When the kids play outside, Jack and Anna have front row seats from their two story window as our kids remind them of their grandkids who live far away. Anna pulls a “Mr. Wilson” from Home Improvement (I’m dating myself here!) and climbs on her stepstool to hand over the apricots. We knock on her door with clothes that need hemming. When I buy lots of veggies, thinking we’ll be healthier this week, and we can’t finish them, I share them with Jack and Anna. Ben and I have been invited in countless times to hear the stories of their move to the States, their extended family, and Jack’s opinions of LeBron James. We’ve held hands and prayed with them. Anna has shown up for every Cookies and Cocoa. What if we stop showing up? What if we stop checking in? I’m not living like it’s up to us, but I’m living with a unique privilege that it can be.
What if our neighbors have a little more life in them because we keep showing up and saying hello?
What if invites are for everyone, especially that family and that kid and that person we think will never come?
What if check-ins aren’t just for doctor offices, but for a text as we think of him or her?
What if we dared ourselves to reach out to the most unlikeliest person to remind ourselves that showing up is both for us as it is for them?
What if we showed up to pray a prayer the moment they come across our thoughts?
This is what I’m learning about showing up…
…showing up is like glitter.
Take a bottle of glitter and put one speck on the ground and walk away. Now return and find that speck. What if you showed up every day and added a speck? And another? You shine when you show up. Even if you can’t see it, believe it!
Showing up adds glitter to this world! And we need yours!
I hope I’ve encouraged you today. I’m walking through a season with friends who are showing up by simply getting out of bed, making their counseling appointment, or leaning into community for the first time in a long time. Life isn’t easy, but I want life to be fulfilling for you. For the sake of our tribe here, would you leave a comment of how you’re showing up in the biggest and smallest of ways? Let’s pour out glitter below…