By Jim Grubs, reprinted from Minding the Gap.
Last week I watched the final sports broadcast of Mark Rosen on WCCO television. It touched my heartstrings. Mark is the leading sportscaster in the Twin City area. He has broadcast the sports section of WCCO News for 50 years! Yes, five-zero years! Five days a week. Twelve months a year. Year after year! Wow! He faithfully showed up to broadcast the day’s sporting news. Not surprisingly, he’s had a very strong impact on his television colleagues. Their relationships go very deep, as was evidence by the many tears of regret and sadness during his final broadcast. Actually, WCCO dedicated that entire news broadcast of 35 minutes to Mark and his work. Wow again!
Mark demonstrated the beauty and importance of being dependable. With the ever-increasing rate of change in our worlds of science and technology, and the seeming questionableness of our government, dependability takes on a very significant role. Don’t get me wrong; change is important and can be good. However, within the state of change we seem to need reliability or dependability. From my perspective, the primary place that can be found is in relationships.
One of the great qualities of the Christian tradition is that its center-point embraces change, suffering, loss, mystery, etc., and can do so because of its center: Jesus. In the letter to the Hebrews, the author points them to the example of their leaders who base their lives on the acts and teachings of Jesus. “Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:7-8) Adherents to Jesus in those times had the primary responsibility of incorporating the acts and teachings of Jesus in an ongoing and reliable manner – day to day, week to week, month to month – in what they said and how they behaved. Quite a challenge for them, and for us!
In my work with Reell Corporation, we often spoke of the importance of simply showing up. We’d say, “Showing up is 50% of the battle.” It is the initial and perhaps the most important step of all our behaviors. It was a clear act of being dependable. It says a bunch of things to others: “You’re important”; “I need to understand you”; “What we’re doing here is very significant in my life, yours and this organization”; “You need my perspective or activity”; or even, “I like being with you.”
If we remember to hold this simple and yet challenging mindset, I can’t help but think people’s reaction will be very similar that of Martha’s in the scriptural story about Lazarus when she said: “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” (John 12:17). The comparison is a bit of a stretch, but we too can bring goodness and energy to many negative situations through our dependable, authentic, transparent, accepting and committed presence.