How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community

September 22, 2022 • Rev. Dr. Regina Proctor

Several weeks ago, I received a book recommendation from a small group I was a part of for six weeks. I enjoyed being with this group of women and discussing healthy human sexuality. Immediately this group was open, curious, and compassionate. We were different in age, race, background, and opinions. Yet, there was an excitement to be authentic, present, and compassionate in our listening and learning together.

The name of this book is, “How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community” by Mia Birdsong; activist and profound communicator. I immediately loved the title because it implied to me that I would learn “how to” do the very thing that captured my attention. My assumption was that I would reclaim what had been lost by learning how to show up for the ones I love.

After reading this book, I came to believe that showing up for people is living authentically in community; with the good, the bad and the ugly and freeing ourselves from the restrictive, false, confining, and crowded expectation of life.

This book is a collection of inspiring stories from communities and people from different races, gender, and sexual orientation. Mia Birdsong shares the new-found life she learned from others when they showed up and allowed others to show up for them during messy and defeating times in life.

In my opinion, this book is a sneak peek into what our narratives could be while allowing our stories and others’ stories to be rewritten when showing up for each other.

Mia Birdsong shows the reader how family, friends, and communities have shown up for persons in despair, defeat, and discouragement. She brings into focus how community helps one another to build up each other’s superhero powers and find authentic self.

In the Christian faith, Jesus came to create a counter-culture revolution. By his teachings, we learn a better way of living in our messy world.

Mia Birdsong writes near the end of the book…”We are living in a contradiction – we are made for interdependence, connection, and love, but part of a culture that espouses the opposite. Creating and keeping what is counter-cultural requires vigilance. We stumble, backslide, and forget. There is a tension between existing in one world while trying to live in another one.”

Mic drop for Christians!

I think Jesus said something like that. Living in this world would not be easy, but living in community as our authentic selves, even with all the conflict, flaws, conversations, and forgiveness is living in the world Jesus had in mind for us.

How can living in community help you find your superhero power? Serving, caring, teaching, praying?

I’m a beekeeper, and I can spend hours watching my bees. My bees have an important job to do inside and outside the hive. They push, guard, dance, fight, and crawl over each other. They thrive and die in community.

In the last chapter of her book, Mia Birdsong suggests our existence is not in isolation but in community; where we find life-changing questions that help us find and be part of life-changing importance.

Where and with whom can you be your whole self, your best self?

“How We Show Up” for people in the world makes a difference in the lives of perfect strangers and familiar friends. It might even help history write a better story.

Rev. Dr. Regina Proctor