May 28, 2009

The Power and Blessings of "Showing Up"

by Stephanie Abney

My husband, Jim, and I are a couple of “show-uppers.” We show up to just about everything and anything we are invited to, are expected to be to and even lots of places where no one thought we would be there. Life happens, of course. Sometimes we are double-booked, out of town, ill or a few times, just plain forget. Nevertheless, generally speaking, we show up. So do a lot of other people. I can’t help but notice a pattern, however. It seems in any given circle, it is pretty much the same people that show up.

The same teachers show up at afterschool events or meetings, the same people show up at ward temple day, welfare assignments, service projects, Eagle projects and Courts of Honor, convert baptisms and wedding receptions, particularly those that are really too far away (but the “show-uppers” will come anyway). They show up at kids’ performances (often when they are not even related), graduation parties, baby and bridal showers and more.

We are also “stay late and help clean-uppers.” Oh yeah, I married into a large bunch of stay late and help out folks. If we are at a wedding reception of someone we don’t even know that well and we happen to get there as it is ending, I can guarantee that the Abneys are not going home until the last table has been stripped of its cloth and decorations, the last chair has been stacked and the floor swept, if not mopped.

Am I bragging? No… just making an observation. It takes a big chunk out of your life to be a “show-upper.” Yet, I know from experience, that when we have an event, a talk to give or any other number of things that may involve others and we look out to see “so-and-so” and we KNEW they would be there… because they always “show up” and we knew we could count on them, there is something so sweet that washes over us. Everyone has fun, gets the work done, cheers the drama student or band member, finishes the Eagle project, does the temple work, supports the new church member, the new grad, the new bride or the new mom or whatever the event may be. Everyone is also enriched, either for having given or received. Everyone becomes closer, bonds of family and friends are strengthened. In this there is real, tangible power… something that adds to your own framework and rounds out the empty spots, fills in the gaps, brings out the smiles and creates value, love and blessings. Yep, I have a lot of gratitude for those who “show-up” and I’m proud to be counted among them because the blessings are a two-way street. It’s impossible to bless the lives of someone else without blessing your own life. You just have to “show-up.”


  1. I enjoyed your blog, Stephanie. It makes me want to be better. I am a semi showupper? Sometimes my remembrance programming gets messed up. But my heart shows up.

    (forgot my account blogger login)

  2. I know what a sweet feeling that can be. I was a show upper for years as YSA, but not so much anymore. Now I'm more of a show up late leave early kind of person. I enjoyed the first one more.

  3. I think this is such an important aspect of LIFE.I think that whether one 'shows-up' or not shows how dedicated they are to life outside of their own bubble. It is so easy for me to NOT 'show up' because I get wrapped into my own things, don't care enough, or don't think things through enough. But I know I am happier when I step outside myself and 'show-up'. I know it is a godly aspect of life to be able to do so. I SOO admire those who do 'show-up' and it is certainly one of my goals to become more and more a 'show-uper'. I admire YOU, Stephanie. You're 'show-up-idness' is so wonderful, welcoming, and special. It is such a lovable trait. I'm so glad to know you :)

  4. I'm really grateful you're a "show-up'er". I know it's blessed my life. :-)
    Suit up and show up - is what I always tell myself. I know when I'm slacking (which is lately). I get so self absorbed that I lose sight of being "actively engaged" and thus don't show up.
    It really does make a difference - just showing up, dominoes into other areas making us better people.
    So...I'm going to do better, and try to hang with those who "show up" and maybe it will rub off.
    Thanks Stephanie!
    I needed a push!

  5. Stephanie,
    I agree with your blog completely. I don't do as well as I used to at showing up. The spirit is willing, but the flesh has gotten weaker.
    I try to work in showing up when I make comments in Sunday School and RS in the YSA ward I attend because my husband is in the bishopric. Too few of our youth show up because they can contribute. They only show up, late, if it sounds like fun.
    I am working on making myself show up to more things. My husband has bad kneew, and he needs to get off them a lot. It's harder to show up alone!

  6. I'm not such a great show-upper and want to do better because you're right--showing up blesses everyone involved.

  7. Love your post, Stephanie...In our ward we call it the SOS members...Same old seven...There are about 7 families that will consistently show up for every event. When my kids get a bit whiny about having to "show-up" I remind them of the blessings they have witnessed as a result of someone "showing up." They might sigh a bit...but they pitch right in. Thanks for being such a great example and support! We love you!

  8. Thanks, Stephanie. You're so right. I loved it because I've been a "show-upper" so my conscience is clear. I've also semi-graduated to the other side, and like others, I'm full of excuses.

    For a long time, Charles and I were among the first ones there and the last to leave a church-sponsored or family activity. The getting there early was due to Charles, the staying late to me. I loved that time. In our eighties we slowed down, coming later and leaving early, before clean-up time. We had guilt twinges, but our bones demanded the change.

    Now I miss many of the activities I fully planned to go to, just because I'm too tired to want to drive by myself at night,

    Life sometimes gets in the way of what we'd like to do, but that same life is still full and interesting if we let it be. About all I can do now is to show up . . . and smile.

  9. Thanks for all the comments. I enjoyed reading them!!


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