The Church Being the Church

The month of March was a difficult month to say the least. Literally on March 1st, I received a call that my aunt had passed away quite unexpectedly. And while we were dealing with the many details of this death, later in the month, Jeremy’s grandpa was transferred to Sacred Heart from a hospital in Tri-Cities due to a stroke. The next day, he passed away.

I’ve experienced a lot of death as a child so I thought that when I experienced it again as an adult, I would be more prepared or something. But of course, I wasn’t and it wasn’t easier. Death brings up a lot of heavy thoughts and questions, guilt and regret. And I believe if I wasn’t a part of such an incredible community who loves our family and loves Jesus, I would have stayed in that heavy, questioning place.

Through this month, our family was overwhelmed by the people around us. When I got the call about my aunt, I was paralyzed. Jeremy called dear friends and they immediately took Eleanor for a couple hours because I just couldn’t watch her in that moment. Our small group processed my aunts death and all the complicated parts of it with me and I felt comfortable telling them all my thoughts and questions. They just listened, letting me feel what I feel but also not letting me stay there – they brought truth and hope.

When Jeremy’s grandpa was transferred to Sacred Heart, three different people volunteered to watch Eleanor that day so we could be at the hospital with family. That same weekend, our washing machine broke and friends literally did our laundry for us (along with folding all of it) without us even asking. We had friends drop off food, send cards, and sweet text messages asking how we were.

I remember a long time ago, when Jeremy and I were in desperate need of community soon after we got married, a couple asked us why we were so adamant about having community or being a part of community. And in that moment, I didn’t completely know the answer.

But I know the answer now because I’ve been a part of it and experienced it. The church or community, when done well, is a give and take. It is about watching your toddler when you really need it, providing meals when you can’t make them for yourself, listening and genuinely wanting to be a part of each other’s life. It’s about you taking care of people when they need it.

It’s about being in relationship with people who are different then you, who you may even argue with or disagree with but who you know fulfill a need that you can’t meet. It’s about being together in worship and trusting that if you are emotionally unable to or maybe even don’t believe that day, others are worshipping for you.

It’s about loving one another really well, even if and when we don’t feel like it or are feel really busy because it reminds us we aren’t alone. When my aunt died, I really wanted a word from Jesus but felt He was silent. And then one by one, people around me spoke truth on His behalf, reminding us we aren’t alone, He is with us, and our community is with us.

Life isn’t easy, but when the church is being the church, we can find joy and companionship making those unbearable moments bearable. And we can remind each other of truth. Thank you for being the church to us in this season.