Following Christ, Jesus, Kindred Spirits

Just Show Up: How to Love Your Neighbor

I’ve learned something huge about what it means to love one another this year, and I wish I could go back and teach it to my younger self. Over the last 12 months, I cannot even count how many times people supported my family and showed us actual, tangible love.

We bought a house last spring, and man, it’s not been a walk in the park since moving! Our house has had some issues, and we’ve experienced the loss of a baby, followed by my dealing with a lot of anxiety, hormonal imbalance, and health struggles.

But we didn’t walk alone. Our people SHOWED UP. That’s the lesson: loving people means showing up. That’s it. There are no perfect words to say or methods to use. Literally just show up when you’re needed.

Our house was a foreclosure and definitely not cleaned up and ready for us. Friends and family cleaned, deeply, including toilets, the bathtub, stinky carpet, and gross cabinets so we could move in comfortably.

Someone mowed the overgrown yard multiple times until we were able to buy a mower.

People did lots of repairs, including painting and laying 500 square feet of flooring (it is gorgeous!).

They helped us move and set up the house.

An elderly friend hauled water for us multiple times when we thought we’d run out of water (it was a faulty well pump!).

Two women came and MOPPED ALL THE FLOORS IN OUR HOUSE AT 10PM one night because the house had to be treated for fleas. Jesus take the wheel. I know fleas aren’t technically a big deal, but bugs in my house make me come undone. They came and helped me when I felt like I was falling apart.

When we had our miscarriage, people prayed and brought food and texted and prayed and brought food and texted. The support went on and on.

So many people listened to me as I tried to sort out my emotions.

When our daughter ended up in the hospital with febrile seizures, there were people who showed up to visit, walked us through that terrifying experience, paid for our gas to get home, bought food, and brought a special teddy bear for our sweet girl.

I have girlfriends that are truly a modern day tribe. In one breath they’re laughing over the hilarity of marriage and raising kids, and in the next offering consolation and solidarity when I feel like I’m about to break.

One of my girls brought me beef stew last week when we were battling the flu. I told her not to feel obligated to cook for us, to which she replied, “It’s already made.” She showed up and dropped it off on the front porch. I felt so loved that night.

It’s so simple. Just show up. When there’s a need that you can fill, show up.

Cook a meal. Mow a lawn. Mop floors and clean toilets. Watch kids. Drink coffee and listen. Shoot a supportive text. Say a prayer and then follow up. You don’t have to be a great speaker or be full of deep wisdom. Loving people means showing up, consistently. For all those years I spent wondering how I could follow Jesus’ call to love my neighbor, I wish I’d known all I had to do was SHOW UP.

This weekend is the due date of our baby, which is what spurred on this post. In my weepy state, I did some art therapy with a quote that speaks to the idea of showing up.

This song is so true of the human experience. We can’t stop the rain from falling on the people we love. But we can show up and hold them up until it goes away.

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