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Show Up and Look Alert

November 12, 2017

Profound and timely reflection as we walk through the Valley with parents and so many… thanks, Jake!

Jake Owensby

Eighty percent of life is showing up. Some give Woody Allen credit for the quip. A Google search will give you a few variants. The word order changes. You’ll find “success” substituted for “life.”

One of my pastoral care mentors taught me her own variant. “Show up and look alert.” That adage speaks to me to this day. And I regularly commend it to my clergy colleagues.

Initially the phrase guided me as I walked with my parishioners through loss. The death of a parent, a spouse, or a child. Suicides and drug overdoses. Diminished mobility from car crashes and falls and strokes. A cancer diagnosis. Divorce. Long-term unemployment. Stalled careers. Dreams unfulfilled.

Loss comes in many forms. Whatever shape it takes, loss leaves grief or regret or remorse or shock or some mixture of these in its wake. No one’s pastoral bag of tricks comes with a magic wand…

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