It’s Friday number eight. I told you I’d be counting for awhile.
And LIFE is here, you guys. We are in it. We have a new filter, a new way to make decisions and priorities but we are back in the zone where we need … well, filters and decisions and priorities. And sometimes it’s real tricky. And coming at us real fast.
Eight Fridays ago feels like a lifetime removed from our here and now, but also like a constant timer going off in the background. In the here and now, we are laughing and holding hands and rolling our eyes at the same drama and launching dreams like books and businesses (turns out the Entrepreneur-apple didn’t fall far from the tree) and turning our prayers to other emergencies and hurts.
But also, it’s only been eight Fridays since our emergency. Jason still wears a life vest. We have learned what a false alarm on that thing sounds like (hint: terror. It sounds like terror.) We own a sexy old-man-pill-box. And Cardiac Rehab is a part of our new rythym.
It’s still. So. Surreal.
Eight Fridays ago I called one of my best friends and in a tremor-filled-voice asked if she would drive me to the hospital.
That’s the last thing I asked for.
I didn’t ask anyone else to come to the hospital. They came.
I didn’t ask anyone to smuggle cots into the waiting room. They found a way.
I didn’t ask anyone to replace my silly heels. They brought Uggs and it felt like stepping into a hug. That I wore for four days straight. So ummm, they didn’t want them back.
I didn’t ask anyone to start a dinner plan. But every night on the courtyard patio there was the breaking of bread and more being nourished than just our bodies.
Because love looked so PRACTICAL in that space. Love showed up in every single hug. And prayer. And song. And baby snuggle. And card. And candy bar. And yes, hotel toiletry.
It was a collision of selflessness that turned into a beautiful symphony. I’ll never be the same because of it. And it hasn’t stopped – people are still giving us LIFE in countless ways. Turns out meal trains are the bomb, by the way. And turns out we have some amazing cooks in our tribe.
I’ve always taken Jesus’ words to heart when He said it’s more blessed to give than receive. And I get what He was saying. But I gotta say the blessing of receiving over these last eight Fridays has blown my socks off too. It’s powerful to see what life together can look like. I’m starting to think that life together is one of the most sacred things we have.
Tonight we are sharing at Choose Joy – and yes, saying WE still makes me giddy, I’m guessing that will continue much longer than the counting of Fridays will. Choose Joy is a conference-that-feels-more-like-family and this is our third year here. It’s targeted to couples going through infertility and/or adoption, but you know what it’s really targeted at? Alone-ness. Fear. Lies that you’re the only one. See, some crises are far more private and invisible than a heart attack. And rarely does someone pick up the phone and ask for anything when their heart is being attacked in a way that can be hidden. It’s tricky learning how to share it. But dang am I amazed every year at the power of going from “1-in__________” to “1-of-a___________”.
Sometimes you don’t realize who your tribe is until you need them. Jason was once told that he “counted by ones” – to be honest, it was said as a negative, though in taking that phrase home we decided we always wanted to count that way, and never give into the ministry-pressure to start counting success by any number higher than one. That decision felt costly at the time. But as I sat in that waiting room and looked around me, you know what I was doing? Counting by ones … all the ones had gathered in that room together. Our Pastor looked over at me at one point and said, “this is a good return on your investment.” He could not have been more right.
So you guys, count by ones. Invest in your people. Take the risk of showing up. Because all I asked for eight Fridays ago was a ride to the hospital. Our people carried us from there …