I promise I don’t get all my definitions and explanations from Wikipedia. However, I do like their definition of life support.
“Life support refers to the emergency treatments and techniques performed in an emergency situation in order to support life after the failure of one or more vital organs.”
Today is a good day. It’s the day I get connected to life support.
I’m not talking about machines. I’m talking about a group of people.
Last summer our family attended a launch meeting for a new campus of Capital City Church. CapCity is a church in DC that we visited and loved, but had a hard time plugging in to because of distance from our home. The meeting we attended changed everything. CapCity was coming to our town. The new campus would be only a few miles from our house.
Before we ever had our first service at the new campus, our family joined a life group at the home of our friends Andrew and Amanda. After several months of giving us a comfy place to gather and fellowship on a weekly basis, Andrew and Amanda went and had not one, but two babies. As their births approached I have to confess, I got a little panicked.
You see, this season of our life is hard. Really, really hard.
“What do I mean by “Really, really hard”?” you ask. I’ll paint you a picture.
Thanks to her days of neglect and living in an institution, Sofija has little impulse control. She can take down a person twice her size in half a second and she can run away as fast as the quasi-American who just won the Boston marathon. Taking her anywhere requires CONSTANT vigilance and leaves little time for meaningful conversation with others. Although we’re working on getting respite care, we have
no little help with her. She is currently only scheduled to attend school for four hours a day and that usually ends early or starts late due to her meltdowns. Added to our parenting challenges are the health issues both my husband and I have dealt with recently and his ongoing work situation. I try really hard to be a glass-overflowing kinda girl and I don’t want anyone reading this to think otherwise. We ARE abundantly blessed. Sofija’s behavior IS better today than it was when we brought her home four years ago. I AM cancer-free. We have healthcare, a predictable income, a great home, cars that are paid for, more family time than we can handle, and lots and lots of love.
What we don’t have is an abundance of interaction with people outside of our home. Our life group cured that. The thought of losing that weekly interaction or even just going several months without it, made it a little hard for me to breathe. I need that life support.
Just before the arrival of Andrew and Amanda’s babies, my husband and I offered our home as a meeting place for the life group. Crisis averted. Our life support was coming to us.
Which leads to today; my favorite day of the week. For the last two months, on Wednesday nights, our home has become a source of life. Not just for us, but (from what others have said) for everyone who attends. A hodgepodge of people from various walks of life, with various relationship statuses, and in various stages of their walk with Christ, enter our front door every week, and leave with air breathed into them. We breathe life into one another. Through prayer, encouragement, honest conversation, and shared perspectives; we grow.
I have often heard pastors use Hebrews 10:25 as a reprimand for people who don’t attend Sunday service regularly. Here’s the thing about that verse. I don’t think the thought of a Sunday church service ever crossed the mind of its author. I wholeheartedly believe that it was written as a reminder of the importance of community.
Hebrews 10:24-25 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. AND LET US NOT NEGLECT OUR MEETING TOGETHER, as some people do, but encourage one another,…
The need for community is human nature. Thanks to social media we can find a community without ever leaving home or actually meeting like-minded people in real life. Don’t get me wrong. I can’t imagine adopting independently (with no agency or lawyers) from a country I had never even visited, without the input of the adoption community I’ve “met” online. Nor, could I imagine walking through my battle with thyroid cancer without the online community that gave me hope and comfort and helped explain all the bizarre changes to my body. But you know what? An online community can’t hug you. A virtual friend can’t show up at your door with a bottle of wine and a pot of soup. A friend across an ocean can’t accompany you to a doctor’s appointment, offer their shoulder for your tears, or watch your kids so you can grocery shop in peace.
We need hugs. We need people who can look us in the eyes and tell us the truth. We need people to hold our hands and cry with us in our puddle of tears. We need friends who know the sound of our voice and not only know our laughter, but know how to induce it. We need real life people to sit at our kitchen table over a meal and a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and listen and share. We need community.
“… And let us not neglect our meeting together…”
I have a challenge for anyone reading this. If you are part of a church that has life groups, join one. If you don’t have a group of people providing your life support and your church doesn’t offer life groups, build one. Think of three people whose Biblical knowledge intimidates you. Think of three people who may not even know that being a Christian has something to do with believing in Christ. Create a nifty evite and invite those six people for a potluck dinner.
Eat. Pray. Encourage. Discuss scripture. Repeat the following week.
It’s that simple. Just gather and breathe life into one another.