showing up

Yesterday I received a sweet gift in the mail — a small clay Holstein cow. He wears the cutest expression, his head tilted as if to say, “You’re so lucky to have me!” I’ve named him Charlie.

Charlie came to me from one of the sunshiny people. She sees the world in shades of fun, funny, funniest. She always has a great story to tell. She cracks me up. She’ll often say, “Well, we might as well laugh about it.” And we do!

I’m thankful the week ended on such an up note. It sure didn’t start out that way. In fact, last Saturday I received a much less welcome “gift” in the mail. It was sadly, inexplicably, rude and hurtful. Since then, I’ve been pondering an appropriate response. I don’t have an answer. I only know that it’s no laughing matter.

In processing my pain, disappointment and, yes, anger, throughout the week, I’ve been reminded of wisdom a dear friend imparted years ago. She said, “Don’t be concerned about who’s missing. Invest in who shows up.” Time has shown she was 100% right. Those who show up are worth every ounce of effort.

I am abundantly blessed with friends and family who show up. Some have been showing up for more than forty years! Most are present weekly, if not daily, in my life. We have mutually open doors and open hearts. It’s a privilege to invest in those who clearly honor and treasure the exchange.

Which is not to say there aren’t investments to be made in those who have nothing to give in return. Indeed, we are called to provide for those in need. But we are also admonished to love … patiently, kindly, humbly, gracefully, and without keeping track of hurts and wrongs. Paul reminded us that no matter how much we give, without love it is empty. We are only grandstanding.

As I woke up this morning, long before dawn, encouraging phrases of the love scriptures were sing-ringing through my head. I love it when that happens! I am reminded that even as I sleep God is at work, healing my brokenness, binding my wounds. Because He is love. And that is what love does.

May God help us to choose love, in all things. May we spread joy and breathe life into each of our relationships. May we refrain from purposely hurting others with our words and actions. May we extend grace and then, when we are hurt and wounded, extend even more.

20130615-083615.jpgFrankly, sometimes, not responding is the most graceful act I can manage today. Loving and living God’s way is hard work. Jesus emphasized the importance of daily forgiveness to remain in right relationships. There is no shortcut if we wish for God to also forgive us.

A life well lived calls for grace and wisdom far beyond my human capacities. Seriously.

But life is also far too short. Let’s strive to love and live fully.

~René Morley

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