I don't get to go to church much these days. I think I've been about 4 times in the last seven months. I've taken church for granted. Up until I got this job in March I had been to church almost every week for 28 years, sometimes several times a week. I got to where I didn't think about it much. Kind of the way you don't think about food or shelter much until you visit a third world country - or they way you don't think about oxygen much until you go skiing at 13,000 feet - or the way you don't think about sleep much until you have a new baby. This is a time of spiritual deprivation and exhaustion. Months without feeding have led to a new kind of struggle. A struggle to stand, to go on. I stumble more now and it seems harder to get back up. I'm struggling, but I'm also seeing and learning things that I think are growing me.
I was "churched" a couple weeks ago. I think of it like kind of a drive by churching. One of those things that happens fast and changes you in an instant. I mentioned that I've been in church my whole life. It's always been a place for me to give - time, talents, resources. I've, of course, gotten more that I've given, but not in a tangible way. For me its been about community and relationships more than having physical needs met. Now I find myself short on both time and resources, I find myself, for the first time, in a place where my family has needs I'm in no position to meet. I was telling Preach and Preachess about our air conditioner breaking, It was still pretty hot outside and I knew we wouldn't be able to fix it. We had already had one night sweating it out. I know it's a small thing, but it was heartbreaking to see my daughter in the morning with her little hair matted with sweat. I should be able to give her a comfortable safe place to sleep. I really felt like I was letting her down. Anyway, Preachess said there is a HVAC guy in our church and said she would call and see if he would look at it. I felt really weird about it. The idea of having a stranger come to my house and help knowing I would probably never be able to pay him back was really unsettling. Preachess said I should let the church be the church. They called, he came that very afternoon.
He was at our house for, maybe, 15 minutes, but when he left our AC worked. I know I've taken a long time to tell a simple story about a small thing, but it was huge for me. I'm going to have a hard time explaining it, I've thought about it for weeks and I can't get it right in my head. It's the first time I can remember seeing the church from this side. I understand how it works, my love of Christ has compelled me to give, I just didn't expect to see so much more clearly from this side. There is something about a man you've never seen before coming to your house to do something for you that you can't do for yourself that moves you. It's a humbling - powerful thing. He talked about his desire to give back, to make a difference. He did, in no small way, he made a difference in our lives. Not because we're more comfortable now, I am different because I've seen first hand what it looks like when someone you don't know, that you can't do anything for, shows you compassion.