In less than a month our family has been visited by both birth and death. With great rejoicing we welcomed our newest son and with immense grief we are bidding farewell to another beloved family member. To have such intense emotions nearly simultaneously feels like we are riding the waves and being pummeled by the surf at the same time. It’s hard to stay afloat.
But in all of this- the highs and the lows- we have been surrounded by our village: the people who have brought us meals, purchased groceries, cared for our children, cleaned our house, did our yard work, prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed some more. Our village consists of family, neighbors who have become friends, and friends who have become family.
The kindness bestowed on us through these faithful human beings has taught me three lessons:
- God is tangible through His people. When we pray for God’s blessing or His provision or His presence, we might be envisioning something supernatural. But I’ve discovered that He frequently answers those prayers through people; He touches my life through them.
- We can all do something. It’s plausible to think that someone else will meet the need, bridge the gap, or offer that word of comfort and so we remain on the sidelines. That might be true but it doesn’t hurt to do something anyway. It’s possible you will be the only one doing a kindness or you might be multiplying the kindness done. Either way, it never hurts to reach out in some small way.
- To have a village we need to be one. These days it’s getting all too easy to be isolated. But now more than ever before we need to stay connected. We need to make that effort to have a conversation, to pick up the phone and talk, to have an outdoor BBQ, or spend time in prayer for that list of requests in your Bible. Never underestimate your place in your village.
In a time of pandemics and divisive politics it might seem safer and more peaceful to pull away from everyone. I know because I did that a time or two myself since March. But this month has shown me that I need people; I have renewed inspiration to give back to my community and to be there when someone else needs to know they have a village too.