It's been an emotional few days (OK, weeks, really) and while we are all doing fine, I won't lie and say it's been easy. But there is one thing about it that has eased the burden and made the whole thing manageable... our church family.
In the recent past it's become sort of the thing to denigrate the church, especially by the Christians who belong to it. We just don't seem to get it right. We're not friendly enough, we're too friendly, we don't live out what we believe, we're weird, we bicker about everything from coffee to drums to other people. No wonder the numbers are falling and no one wants to go. We're not relevant, we're judgmental, we're merely a social club.
You know what? This can be true. The problem is the church is made up of human beings. Sinful, messy, prideful, easily distracted, imperfect humans. The church would be perfect if it wasn't for us. We really wreck the whole thing. It's actually amazing that we ever get anything right at all. No, that's not correct. It's not amazing, it's God. We're too messy to get anything right. We prove it all the time. When we do get things right, we need to give credit where credit is due and that is to the God who loves us and created the church.
And sometimes the church does get it right. The past week has been one of those times. We could never have managed what we have navigated the past few days without the support of a vast number of people. We were never alone and the people of God rose up and supported us in amazing ways. It is with deep love and appreciation that express our gratitude to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. To our pastor who kept checking in with us even though he was supposed to be on vacation. To other staff members who fielded phone calls and acted as a clearinghouse. To the friends who fed our children. To the amazing woman who stayed on the phone, talked us through the crisis, and has held our hands and offered advice and support and wisdom every step of the way. To the people who have prayed. To the people who are using all the contacts they have to find solutions. To the people who call and check in on us. To the people who who visit the hurting in the hospital. To the people who have offered shoulders to cry on. The list goes on and on. I have never felt so grateful for my church, or so proud of it. It has risen up when it was needed and came through in major ways. Thank you.
As J. and I were eating (another) very late dinner a day or two ago, I said that the best part of this whole thing is to know in a very real and tangible way how many people love and support us. It is a very, very good thing to know.
Happy New Year to all of you. May it bring peace and joy to each of you.