Religion Magazine

It’s About Showing Up

By Marilyngardner5 @marilyngard

city street with quote

My friend Bitsie celebrated her 30th anniversary recently. In an online conversation, she said this to me:

“The other day, when a young wife asked me; ‘what is your secret to making it to 30 years?’ I said ‘There’s God, there’s love, there’s commitment. But, often it’s a matter of just showing up every day….'”

I’ve been thinking about those words “Just showing up every day” since she said them. There is so much truth in them.

Want to make a marriage work? Just show up. Want to help the homeless? Just show up. Want to make a friend? Just show up.

I know the eye-roll simplicity of this. I know the sigh of “really? that’s all you’re going to give me?” But it’s still truth.

Because sometimes I forget to show up. I get lost in my stuff, my busyness, my hurt, my pain. I think someone else will do it; someone with more time and energy, someone with more worth.

I remember a time many years ago when I was in a place of deep pain. I couldn’t tell people what was going on, I couldn’t articulate the pain. I sat, shivering and alone, in an office building. My friend Carol showed up. She didn’t ask questions, she didn’t ask me what she could do to help, she just showed up. Soon others followed. They just showed up. There was nothing in it for them and they had no expectations that I would respond. But they continued to show up in the bright flourescent lights of an office building.

Today I want to show up. I want to be fully present. It’s in showing up that I learn more of the faithfulness of the God who shows up. 

So to all of you who “just show up,” thank you! To you who show up in your marriages and to you who show up at your workplaces; to you who show up with your tiny babies, who need you for everything, and for you who show up with your teenagers, who think they don’t need you for anything; to you who show up to care for aging parents and to you who show up to care for children who will never grow to live on their own; to you who show up in the hard, the mundane, the beautiful, the unexpected – Thank you for showing up today.

The world is not changed through one momentous event, it is changed through the often boring, simple acts of obedience that I am daily called to. it is changed by showing up.”

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