I’ve just finished reading Just Show Up, by Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn. It’s a book, a beautiful book written by two friends: one dying of cancer, the other who showed up – to love her, to support her, to walk with her, to dance with her, to live with her. It’s their story, and it’s the story of their community. It’s also my story, a story I’m living.
I write for New Christian Woman, and my latest post for them will be published in a few weeks. It’s about community. This book is about community. I’m living in and experiencing incredible, blessed, grace-filled community. A community that has shown up.
Coleman and I were married in December of 2013 after a short engagement and an international move for me, in a town neither us nor any of our parents lived in. It was a time of joy, not of suffering, and people showed up. Our marriage began with a beautiful celebration and incredible community support from literally around the world. Two wonderful ladies even cleaned Coleman’s apartment in Dawson Creek, which we left a wreck after Christmas and a crazy week before travelling for the wedding, so that it would be a beautiful home for me to move into when we returned there to start our married life.
Just a couple months later and we were pregnant, our son Samuel on the way! I was so sick. And people showed up, with meals, with time and energy and love.
Samuel was born; I lost a lot of blood and couldn’t take care of my new baby, and people showed up.
We conceived again, and I was sick again and people showed up.
We moved to South Africa and people showed up.
Samuel had a seizure, and another and surgery, and another. Hospital stay after hospital stay and people showed up.
In the middle of Samuel’s illness, Eleanor was born and people showed up to celebrate. She was admitted to hospital and we thought she might die and people showed up.
I began to lose weight, faced unknown illness and people showed up.
I was diagnosed with cancer, and people showed up.
We moved to America for treatment, and people showed up.
Writing this list, it sounds like the last few years have been terrible! But they haven’t. They really and truly have not been terrible. Suffering has not defined our marriage; community has. Our marriage and our family have been sheltered, protected, encouraged and loved, wrapped in grace and kindness and mercy. We have suffered, and you have shown up, and that is what we remember, what we celebrate, what we cling to. You have suffered with us and eased our suffering. And now you are doing it again.
None of you reading this need to read this book for instruction, though I highly recommend you read it for encouragement and inspiration. I wish I could give you all a copy, not as a prescription, but as a description of what you have done and are doing for us. As a thank you.
Keep showing up, for us, for each other, for friends, neighbours and strangers. Keep building community – it is hard and messy and so worth it. Thank you for being our community.
How can you show up?
Go to https://my.lotsahelpinghands.com/community/the-glenns/home, where a dear friend has organized a website for some of our practical needs in the short term.
Pray for us, for one another.
Write to us. We read every message, note, letter, and love getting them, even if we can’t respond right away.
Show up for other people in your life. If you can’t meet our practical needs right now, find a way to meet someone else’s. There is suffering the world over, and perhaps you can show up practically for someone in your neighbourhood.
This post contains my thoughts on the book. I was not given a copy or compensated in any way and there are no affiliate links in this post.