It’s often said that “90% of life is showing up.” I have often reflected on the meaning of those words. Most of the time it seems mundane – we show up for work, for special occasions, for family functions …
Like many, I have been impressed by Time’s person of the year, Greta Thunberg. As an eight-year-old, she was inspired to do something for planet Earth. In 2016 she camped out in front of the Swedish Parliament, holding a sign, “School Strike for Climate.” Students around the world followed her example. Since then she has addressed the heads of state at the U.N., met with the Pope and spoken to President Trump. She does not have time for small talk; instead, she says, “Our home is on fire.” Her message is simple: oceans will rise, cities will flood, and people will suffer. She moved from sadness to endless action. She shows up.
Fr. Jim Flynn, a 90-year-old Louisville priest, can be found six days a week on street corners around the city holding a sign welcoming immigrants to Louisville. Rain, snow, extreme heat, or cold does not deter him. Sometimes he is the only person present to hold a sign. I have stood with him when countless drivers blow their horns. He receives many thumbs up but at times a different finger. His life has been threatened if he continues, and still, he is there. He can be found at the Greyhound bus station bringing bottled water, food, coloring books and crayons to nervous immigrants passing through the city. He shows up.
Showing up is most often not dramatic. Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace have shown up consistently, preaching the just word. We have delivered countless hand-written letters to a Governor asking to end capital punishment, delivered soap and informational materials on human trafficking to hotels before a sporting event, walked in demonstrations for peace, environmental justice, and responsible gun legislation. Whether preaching from the pulpit, teaching English to immigrants, or praying for lasting peace in a fragile world, Dominicans continue to show up. The many expressions of showing up are endless.
I believe showing up is a mission-driven, Gospel-driven response to Matthew 25. It is not about success, but faithfulness. “Showing up” is holy persistence, believing that one person can make a difference.
What is your definition of “showing up?”