Who knows they are deeply loved? My hand is waving like some third-grade child, knowing for sure that I have the right answer. I can tell you that without a doubt I am blessed beyond words by how much love comes my way most days. I knew this even before I became ill. I am so grateful for the outpouring of people who have shown up in my life over the decades. At this juncture in life, I acknowledge that love is an abundance for me.
One of my dear friends gave me Kara Tippetts’ book justshowup: the dance of walking through suffering together. I began reading it fairly recently and concur how Kara talks about Big Love and a wonderful life. Many of us live small–too scared to make ourselves vulnerable and open. I have tried for a long time to live and love big, to take risks with my heart, actions and words. Life has been a wild, glorious adventure to me that has afforded me miracles and mercy. I may not be as extroverted as Kara was but I know I need people. I enjoy talking with strangers who later have become friends. I push the limits of my comfort zone and have gained so much by that. Now I reap the benefits of being loved in a way that I would not really wish on anyone but I am still learning how to let people show up for me. This book may be a gift that gives more than expected.
Kara starts the book simply and shockingly:
Hi. My name is Kara Tippetts, and I may not be alive when you read this book. I hope so, but I don’t know. That decision is in the hands of the Author of my life–His name is Jesus. I trust Him with every ounce of who I am.
I think I would have adored Kara. We seemed to have had a lot in common. I am anxious to see what she, along with her friend and co-author Jill Lynn Buteyn, will teach me about opening more and letting people show up for me. Over these years of being sick, I have learned to let people into my life in ways that are sacred. I have let them serve me and that has been humbling. Kara pinpoints her need for community, as do I. My tribe has shown up for me, my family, and one another. The love I have experienced is overwhelming: Whatever you need, Zanna. Just name it, Suz. Of course, I can do that. I am here for you is what they are saying because we love one another. This, I agree with Kara, is all rooted in Christ who has shown up and modeled for us, what everlasting love is when he called us friends.
I have entrusted certain tribe members with great responsibility. Some form an inner circle that is helping me think through end-of-life decisions–they get to see my heart of hearts. I trust them completely. Some of the same folks plus a small group of others will help me plan my funeral in the coming weeks. I look forward to that in an odd sort of way. These people are showing up on a level that is extraordinary. Others show up with soup runs, wonderful cards with handwritten notes from across the ocean that bring a smile to my face, prayer times, thoughtful gifts that arrive in perfect time, offers to walk with me, and affirming words. My people are all in for the most part. So am I–as much as humanly possible.
Today, I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament and returned showing up. My long list of intercessory prayer needs poured out to my Beloved, followed by thankfulness for those who are praying for me. Even in my illness, I want to show up for these dear hearts. I want to be there for them. I seemed to be having a great day health-wise and so my energy was directed outwards instead of inwards. I felt almost normal most of the day. I was even able to go over to my mother’s and help with a number of tasks that needed to be done.
Christ has modeled well for us what it means to show up…until the end. I look forward to reading what Jill and Kara have to say about it too. May we learn to show up and may we also learn to accept being shown up to. Both present a challenge of their own. A deep love accompanies each act. May you know it in your lifetime.
When was the last time you showed up for someone going through a challenging time?
When was the last time someone showed up for you when you needed it most?
You show up, Jesus, all the time, in my life. Sometimes you send someone with skin on in your stead to make sure I know that you are at work, caring for my every need. Showing up takes courage. Allowing others to show up takes vulnerability. May I be open to both in the remainder of my days so that I may know how deeply and preciously I am loved and how much love I can still pour out in your marvelous name. Amen.