“For the body does not consist of one member but of many…If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” I Cor 12:14, 26
We all live in communities. Not just the physical neighborhood where we reside, but communities of people who share something in common. Often there is overlap in those communities—there are people in our ‘school community’ who are also in our ‘church community’ and our ‘sports community’ or our ‘art/dance/drama/_____ (fill in the blank with whatever fits) community’. The internet has opened the door to more opportunities to connect with others and build communities around similar interests, and interesting connections abound.
This was a difficult weekend in our ‘communities.’ A friend from our church community was diagnosed with brain cancer. A friend in my homeschool community (a group of amazing moms homeschooling large families, most FAR bigger than mine!) lost her husband on Friday. A family in our school community has a 17 year old son involved in a serious accident on Saturday afternoon, and he remains in critical condition in ICU in a medically induced coma. The little school community has been hard hit this year! Already they’ve dealt with another student being diagnosed with leukemia. (You can see Katie’s story here and here and here). Seattle Christian is a little school. There are less than 250 kids in the high school, and only about 625 in grades K-12. To be hit with 2 significant illnesses/injuries in a single school year is painful. But the students are amazing. Their faith is strong. Their love is evident. And their ability to pull together and rally around the one who hurts is inspiring.
My little homeschool community—about 50 moms—lives all over the country. We are diverse in many ways, yet over the years we’ve walked one another through a variety of deep hurts. To know that these women would drop what they are doing to come alongside is powerful. We’ve seen that this week, as one family in Missouri left their farm to go to Arkansas to ‘run the house’ of the gal who lost her husband unexpectedly. The rest of us have done what we can: pray, send cards and notes and emails of love, donate funds for food and gas, given flowers and plants. It all helps.
The friend from church? She’s being loved on and cared for too. We have a couple in our small group who is further down the ‘brain cancer’ road than this family, and they have been notified. They are willing to be there, to share the hurt, to act with compassion and empathy because they truly KNOW what it is to hurt this way. Through them, our small group will be able to help out this family. And that’s one of the big benefits of living in community.
Today, the hurt seems overwhelming. In a way, it is. There’s nothing physical I can do to make things better for any of my friends. But I can pray. It never feels like enough. But it is. And when we don’t know the words? Well…
“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words.” Romans 8:26
Can’t get better than that, can it??