Just Showing Up

May be an image of tree, body of water and nature

Yesterday we received a letter from Els in Norway:

‘In February I started a new job… a project offering assistance to people working in or who have worked in prostitution, and victims of human trafficking…’

‘…there are the heartbreaking conversations where I listen and realise that that is all I can do. And yet, more often than not I find that at the end of listening I have been able to give something: compassion and value, and maybe a little bit of hope that they are not alone.’

Musing on Els’ words… Sometimes it’s about just being there; just showing up.

When I was teaching there was discussion about gifted and talented children, those with special needs… There wasn’t so much said about those who you could rely on to be there; those who always showed up.

In my role managing staff I looked for enthusiasm, charisma, high quality, flair… but also dependability… staff who would just show up.

In church there’s often discussion about gifts, leadership or vision; yesterday we discussed five new church-family members… their life-experience, their potential contributions… The thing that impresses me most is that they are people who show up.

Nadia Bolz-Weber suggests that the greatest spiritual practice isn’t prayer, fasting or meditation: ‘The greatest spiritual practice is just showing up.’

With a couple of other women Mary Magdalene stood at Jesus’ cross; after Jesus died she came to the tomb; the resurrected Jesus appeared to someone who just showed up…

‘Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of just showing up… (She) didn’t necessarily know what to say or what to do or even what to think when she encountered the risen Jesus. But none of that was nearly as important as the fact that she was present and attentive to him.’


Sometimes my best contribution isn’t what I’ve done, or the advice I’ve given. I learn from Els, Nadia and Mary. It’s valuable just being there; just showing up.

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