Wednesday, April 8, 2015

when you're the Needy One (otherwise entitled: find your tribe)

Well.  We have had an un-lovely turn of events around here lately.  It's no secret to most of you that my little sister had brain surgery this morning to remove a tumor.  I say little but honestly she is like five inches taller than me and built like a runway model so it really just makes me feel better about myself to call her little.

She is out of surgery but I haven't had the final word on the tumor.  The surgery was expected to last 3-4 hours, but ended up taking just over an hour, which is a good sign.

But today I am not writing about her.  It's too fresh, and I am not sure what I have to say about it yet.

Today I am writing about my tribe.  You know, the people who surround you and peel you off the floor and love your children and feed your family and pray when you just can't pray any more...those people. They know who they are and the would NOT want credit so I won't name them.

For the past several weeks I have been the Needy One amongst us.  I had minor surgery a couple weeks ago and was down and out for about three days.  In this time they carted my children around, fed us, checked on me, and prayed.  It felt warm and fuzzy.

Then we got the tumor diagnosis.  If you have gone through something like that before, and I know several of you have, you will understand when I say it doesn't seem real.  It's like a movie.  You just crumple on impact with that kind of news.

Then Middle Child got strep.  And it would. not. go. away.  I carted him to the doctor three times in a week and had his meds changed, and finally ended up having to hold him down for a horrible penicillin shot.  Then The Baby got croup.  Nothing major, but just a relentless feeling that we couldn't go one day without issues.  Then the hubs reminds me he's out of town the night of the surgery.  Then my routine doctor's appointment lasts two hours and I miss my first chance to visit my sister before her procedure. And on, and on, and on.

While dealing with a brain tumor and impending surgery in a person you assumed would be around for another 70 years (the women in my family live FOREVER).

It was just a lot. I became the Needy One.

And those same precious people plus several more have continued to take care of my children, feed my family, and make sure I don't completely lose my mind.  They have assumed the position that if it is happening to me, it is happening to them. These are the same sweet hands that lovingly came and cleaned my kitchen (which was more than just a little messy) and prayed over me when I could not get off my couch or keep up with the pace of my life at nine months pregnant with a husband who was out of town for three weeks.  They are the same hands who have skipped lessons and meetings and time with their families to be with mine.

They have continually called and texted me for 24 hours now, knowing when the surgery was taking place and that I couldn't be with my family.  They have offered to keep my three children for however long I need them to, even though they have two or three of their own.

They have sat on my porch and told me hilarious stories about their children and just let me not talk about me for a while.  They have planned dinners and coffees and nights on the porch with wine because I can't just be a zombie all the time.

And they have prayed and prayed and prayed. And then prayed some more because I just could. Not. Pray. Any. More.  They stood in the gap for me and held up my hands because I just couldn't do it any more.  The feeling has moved from warm and fuzzy to overwhelming gratitude and love.

These are my people.  This is my tribe.

So here is my plea to you: find your tribe.  We live in a broken world and life-altering things happen sometimes.  Most people won't experience real tragedy in their lives, but we will all experience the death of a loved one, spouses who have to be gone when we need them home, sickness, and just the exhaustion that is being a parent/spouse/friend/child/homeroom mom/soccer coach/HUMAN BEING.

And let me tell you, going it alone is not the way.  I HATE being the Needy One.  I am much better when I am on the giving end of a relationship.  I have said as much to several of these people and they have literally told me to shut my mouth because that's not how this works.

And thank you Jesus, they are right.  They are not keeping score and waiting for the day I return all the favors they have done for me.  They just love me, mostly because they love Jesus, but also because they are just that way. And they keep giving.

And that is how we get through life.  It's how we see good things like hope, peace, laughter and light. Those things are found in sweet babies who don't belong to you, but squeal and reach for you when you come up the steps, stories of completely hilarious inappropriate things a Kindergarten girl tells you about the boy next door, the constant beeping of my phone as I sit here and write because people are thinking of me and rejoicing when I rejoice, and mourning when I mourn.

Find your tribe. Then give of yourself like you hope they would give of themselves when you are the Needy One.  Because you will be the Needy One someday.  And when you are, let them give to you. Don't fight it, don't keep them out of your house because it isn't clean and you' haven't showered, and FOR THE LOVE DON'T KEEP APOLOGIZING (they hate that).

Our God is three in one, fellowship is part of who He is. Own it.  Find them.  You will not be sorry.


Megan Holder said...

Saying so many prayers from Atlanta. Your message rings very true for me. Being on the receiving end of gratitude that you can't repay is a confusing and awesome place to be in.

This was my favorite line... "Then give of yourself like you hope they would give of themselves". I can't think of a better way to repay kindness.

The hard stuff is simply not meant to be done alone. You need your tribe.

Chris & Scott Smith said...

Yes, find your tribe. I like that, and we all just have to accept that fact. Every family has a story ... prayers to your sweet sis and to you and your family and your parents. God is good, and he gets us through the bad stuff... Please know that I don't say that carelessly. Hugs!