Creative Writing: Showing Up


SHOWING UP

“They said I’ve got ‘lepsy real bad, but I didn’t want to go in the MRI tube. I just said no,” Cathy says, “but they had real nice food at the hospital. I got Salisbury steak and mashed ‘taters and I wanted to stay because of the food, but they said I need to go home and take that medicine for the ‘lepsy.”

I listen to her, remembering how just a couple of days ago, I happened to stand right next to her when she went rigid, and her lips turned blue, and she foamed a bit at the mouth. I caught her and held onto her stiff body for what felt like hours until someone came and helped me lay her down on the cement floor. I marvelled at how if it hadn’t been for me catching her, she would have fallen and maybe cracked her head open. And my heart just swells with the awe of how much God loves this woman.

“That was scary,” Michele says, shaking her head.

Yes, it was, Michele. So scary that I while I was holding Cathy, I thought that I would never come back to this place. But I think of the Scripture that describes God’s care for the sparrows, and how Cathy is so much more valuable than sparrows. And my love for her grows exponentially as I consider His love for her.

So I show up again.

Today, Gary insists on having two cups of coffee, even though there is only one left.

“Can’t give you what’s not there, Gary,” I tell him.

“But I always get two cups!” he protests.

“I know, just not today.”

“It’s not fair,” he mumbles, angrily walking back to his seat.

No, it’s not, Gary. It’s not fair that you don’t have food at your house. But it’s also not fair that you get to eat for free every day. And I think of the Scripture that describes God’s care for the lilies of the fields, and how Gary is so much more valuable that lilies. And my love for him grows exponentially as I consider His love for him.

So I show up again.

The commode is clogged and it looks like someone stuffed something in it. After many attempts to fix it, we wind up having to call Roder Rooter, and the bill comes to over four hundred dollars. When you can barely pay the electric bill, that’s a lot of money. Don’t they know better than to be irresponsible? Don’t they see how hard we work on their behalf? But I think of the Scripture that tells of sacrificial love for all, a love completely undeserved. And my love for them grows exponentially as I consider His love for them.

So I show up again, in need of His love to fill me beyond my own. And He does it again. And again and again.

So I am going to show up again. And again and again.

Quit Tomorrow

There is “good quitting”

Sometimes, quitting is absolutely necessary in order to have room in our lives for other things.

Your heart and souls are simply too crowded for new things when we hold on the old. Especially when we realize that one season is over…That’s when we need to do the grown-up thing: listen to our intuition and go for it. And here’s a tip if it’s just too hard to quit today: set a date by which you will quit, and work towards it.

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And there is “bad quitting”

But sometimes, we just want to quit because we want to. You know what I mean, right? We don’t want to watch our food intake anymore, or get up early to workout, or study, or… you fill in the blanks. And for those days, here is my best advice: Quit Tomorrow.

There is a very good chance that our strong desire to quit is being dictated by a right-now emotion that could totally change an hour from now.

When we repeatedly intentionally choose to not make rash decisions based on our emotions, we begin to create a new pattern of persistence in our lives. Our initial choice to not yield to “quitting” right now changes our habit and shapes our character.

The Sum of our Habits

We really are the sum of our habits, aren’t we?

That is actually pretty cool.

Or really bad sometimes.

Being the sum of our habits works both ways.

Instead of sticking to our workout today, we could have chosen to quit and eat a donut–a little, inconsequential decision seemingly. But times fifty, and we create another kind of habit…

So, let finish out today.

We can quit or go for the donuts tomorrow. But there is a very good chance that tomorrow, we’ll feel refreshed and ready to go. And even if halfway through tomorrow we want to quit, we might as well finish out that one day, right?

It’s just one day. One workout. One hour.

You can always quit tomorrow, right?

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