My husband is the caboose in his family, the youngest of four sons. He always says he never had to plan or lead anything. All he had to do was show up. I, on the other hand, am the oldest, and I’ve been acting like the matriarch-in-charge since my first sibling was born. For both of us, maturity has meant finding balance between our natures and our desire to mirror what we see in each other. Work, for me, means learning to lean back more than feels natural. Work, for him, means to learning to lean forward more than feels natural.
While I’ve always loved my husband’s “just show up” approach to life, I especially love it now. It speaks to me of peace, of loosely and freely letting others do their part. And it reminds me of the beauty of the guest role as opposed to the host role. One receives and the other offers. Clearly, both are needed to make life the sweet ride it was meant to be.
What I am most grateful for in the guest element of life is that the guest shows up with no agenda other than to accept and, possibly, to learn. There’s beauty in the receiving life. Because, paradoxically, “just showing up” can be as deep and meaningful as “hosting,” if not more so.
When Bill and I moved to Clarkston, he said, “Let’s not jump into volunteering or joining anything. Let’s get to know our neighbors first.” (In other words, let’s just show up.) Although I resisted this at first (you know, I relish the matriarch role and all the fuss that goes with it), these were wise words, and I am so grateful I heeded them. Just showing up in the gracious homes of our Iraqi, Somali, Congolese, Afghan, Burmese friends began the many conversations that eventually led to Refuge Coffee. Despite having recently arrived here on the heels of war and trauma, our new neighbors had their hosting game down. We might offer them a little gift when we showed up, but they out-gifted us with their hospitality. And we simply received.
This is the heart of Refuge. To give and to receive. To show up as a guest and to lead as a host. To intentionally blur the lines between the two.
What does this look like? I hope you’ve already begun painting a few mental pictures of your own best showing-up and hosting moments. Look for Part 2 next week with some inspiring stories to pique your imagination as a guest!
Thank you for showing up in all the ways you do. We receive it with gratitude!