I can’t tell you how grateful I was — after a few days away — to pull up to a congregant’s home this past week to find at least six others already there, helping solve the problem of a flooded basement. Others responded similarly to the recent death of a congregant’s child. This is exactly the kind of presence and caring for one another that I have been preaching about. Thank you to everyone involved for embodying such love and compassion.
Each of us has known crisis in one way or another, at one time or another. We have experienced heartbreak and struggle and despair. We have felt that impulse of fight, flight, or freeze, that narrowing of focus to do just what it takes to survive from moment to moment. The roof has begun to leak, the basement has flooded, our home has been gutted by flame. We have — or someone close has — had an accident, become gravely ill, been laid off, been betrayed, been assaulted or has suddenly died.
And yet, here we are. Somehow we did survive. Somehow we got through. How we explain this — how we make meaning of it — may be unique to each of us, and is the reason that faith communities exist. We are still here to tell the tales, to bear witness to one another. Perhaps in most cases — to paraphrase the Beatles — we got by with a little help from our friends. I might have lost my mind, for example, had friends and professionals not been there to help with my parents’ and in-laws’ repeated crises, brought on by health declines and a slide into dementia.
We are relational and resilient by nature, and by degrees. Our faith communities and chosen families assist us in coping with crisis. And it is in our nature to care for one another.
As we enter the cooler part of the year, when the harvest is in and the leaves turn color and fall to the ground — when the earth revolves in its inevitable way around the sun and daylight diminishes for a time — let us be grateful for one another. Let us remember to ask for help when we need it. And let us be there, present, for one another in our times of need.