“Everyone wants to be Thoreau. We all want to go out into the woods and disengage from society, but I think there’s something really special about doing the opposite, which is still going in the woods but engaging others to help you.” – Jesse Frost
The last three months have interrupted my life in a way that I could’ve never imagined four months ago. Four months ago there were plans for travel over the holidays, decorating to be done, and events popping up on the calendar. The Sunday before Thanksgiving I had a plan.
My plan was to take my son to school on Monday, scribe exams for the lower grades in the morning, get some supplies to start prepping for Christmas lights, finish up some laundry, and maybe start packing. On Tuesday, I was going to take advantage of the forecasted warm weather and start putting up light clips outside, finish packing, and then we would hit the road after my husband came in from work.
We hit the road all right, but at 6:45 AM on Monday with my husband in the back of an ambulance! This was not in the plan at all, but God had a bigger better plan that would span Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, the Super Bowl, my birthday, Valentine’s Day and the rest of our lives! We are still learning what life looks like from this new vantage point.
We are country people, even though we’ve spent significant time in urban and suburban areas. As such, self-sufficiency of sorts is part of who you are more than a hipster trend with an off-the-grid tiny house and a permaculture garden watered by rain barrels. Many country people have their “family” within arms’ reach and at the ready with a moment’s notice. There is community you’ve had your whole life that never had to be built you were born into it.
So, family came to the rescue for the first two weeks my husband was in the ICU. Then they left and went home. We had two more weeks of hospital visits and more family for a few days just before Christmas. My husband came home, then my parents came back for a few days, and then life hit like a ton of bricks. This is when I had to do that hardest of things for me.
I “let” others step in to help. With all the talk of hospitality, I wasn’t willing to receive it. I had “company” for around 20 days over the holidays, but didn’t see that I was denying others the chance to serve. There is a mutual hospitality when we do life together, we have to let others into our need – not just our mess.
I had community with Allume, my church, my Bible study, classroom parents, and friends. But I found more family through the calls, messages, prayers, visits, and meals. My pride and self-reliance almost made me miss this. When we engage with each other and receive we develop a desire to give to others which then grows exponentially.
We shouldn’t need to have a crisis but develop an awareness of all we’ve already received and give back. However, if you do find yourself in crisis, be willing (i.e. humble enough) to ask for help and let others bestow some glorious hospitality of true community on you. You will both be blessed.