Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Christian Community

It's funny really. My wife and I have been changing and growing for several years in our walk with Jesus. It started with internal rumblings as we read the Gospels and then looked at the lives we Christians lived and supported. What we saw often did not match up…not politically, not socially, not at all. At this point, we felt something moving but had no idea what was happening. So, we did what American Christians do best…we ignored the spirit moving J.

Then I was called to Africa. WOW. To this day I still have been unable to process everything that trip did to me (and no, I am NOT speaking of the amoebic dysentery) J. Yet, I know I will NEVER EVER be the same person. But I saw things that I knew God put there for me to see. I saw poverty unimaginable, but what struck me most was a light in the darkest dark I'd ever seen, and I knew I was changing. Just a few folks making an effort to love was all the difference!

Then we read a few books as we continued studying Christ (I would recommend them but they may really change your life!). Suddenly our politics began to change. All in all we really try not to worry about politics as we consider ourselves citizens of the Kingdom of God LONG before we consider ourselves Americans. But we began to question the norm we had always been fed. We began to look at things quite differently (especially myself in this arena)

We really fell in love with the idea of living in community. Now, of course I have no clue what that means exactly. It is hard to grasp when we've been reared in a total individualistic, independent consumerist society. But we LOVE the idea. Of course most of our friends and family laugh, and call us hippies…and that is ok. It doesn't bother me. In fact, I kind of LIKE it J. But what I see in Acts really IS communal. Call it what you want, socialism, communism etc…I call it the church.

So we find ourselves fascinated with this idea. We have a friend who is too and we often joke about starting our commune. Granted it truly is just in JOKE stage now (I haven't progressed as far as my friend Matt has—kudos Mr. Wisdom), but I like the idea of sharing possessions, taking care of each other and "redistributing wealth". There really is something to the Bible's "jubilee economics".

Yet…we aren't ready to move to Philly, and join The Simple Way. That would require some HARD changes that just are not in place yet. But we are trying to live more like this example. We are trying to be more like Jesus….tall order huh? J But when Jesus says that he who has 2 coats should give the second to the man without…I think he meant it. So we have thinned our closets. We have given to the men begging, even if they are probably just going to buy beer…because that is what we are to do…LOVE. And here is what I have found: Right now….we can STILL live in community. Maybe we don't all have to live together and share a garden J (though that sounds cool). I believe the church IS the community when we do it right! We experienced it massively this week.

Sunday night our daughter gave us quite the scare. It was a fluke accident. She began crying and throwing a mini fit like all 19 months old when she choked on her spit and mucus. This isn't uncommon in kids but it quickly escalated. She REALLY got choked, and wasn't able to breathe! We jerked her up and tried to see what was wrong and help! Finally after much struggle she threw up and opened her pipes. So, her natural response to this precious influx of oxygen was to take a HUGE gasp of air in…but when she did she breathed in the mix of spit and vomit (yuck)…causing more choking.

We finally got it up and settled her down. Boy were our nerves shaken! Everything seemed fine until about an hour later. We noticed her wheezing really bad and her breathing was quite labored. We called the Dr on call and just listening through the phone he sent us to the ER. At this point we still figured it was nothing too big and we'd be right back home. I'll try and make this part short…IT WASN'T SIMPLE. Her oxygen levels were alarmingly low and the breathing got worse. We saw 4 Dr's, and had several X-rays. It went from nothing to "we might have to fly you to Portland for a procedure". At last they found a heart surgeon willing to take on the task, as no other surgeons or pediatricians would attempt it, considering it too risky.

YIKES! Can you imagine the fear? Turns out they were sure she had aspirated something down the wrong pipe and had something in her lungs causing the issues. To fix this she needed to be completely put under, and then have a tube, respirator, scope, camera and extractors shoved down her tiny delicate windpipe. We were scared. We were confident, but really scared. I texted some friends for prayers at this point. NO MORE LONE RANGER!

And the response….well it was LOVE. It was CHURCH. It was COMMUNITY. Several friends and family came just to sit. (I owe them all apologies actually as I hardly acknowledged them…I do this when worried..SORRY) One of my dear elders at church came up and prayed with us, and stayed until we got news. We were flooded with love, calls and support. Friends took our other two kids. Another cooked us dinner for the next day. They made sure we had ALL bases covered.

She came out okay. Praise God. They did find three things in her lungs and removed them. She is happy today, but at high risk of infection or pneumonia due to the invasive procedure. Normally this would be pretty easily managed, but right now my precious wife is out of town and I have all 3 kids myself. OKAY…admittedly this may be a challenge but still normally, a manageable one if not a little stressful. The key word of course, is normally. Nothing right now is normal. Our middle daughter has really bad bronchitis, and our son has a nasty stomach flu. Germs are everywhere! Throw in that I haven't slept in four nights and you have what COULD be a pretty lonely situation.

But once again…my COMMUNITY has gathered around. A dear friend helped with the kids yesterday while I shuttled some to Dr.'s, pharmacies, got my work from the church to bring it home, and ran for groceries etc. Another dear friend just showed up with 3 pre-cooked meals for me and the kids. Another just dropped of a lasgna and srinsk for the kids. And the offers have yet to stop for help. It is humbling and it is beautiful.

We have a wonderful family, and we are living in a community, even if the roofs over our heads are not shared. Church is amazing when we LIVE it and not just GO TO it. I am so thankful for my brothers and sisters. And as I continue on this thrilling journey to figure out what God will have me do, it is my greatest thanks that I live in a community that puts others first.

Thanks and blessings to you all.



1 comment:

mattwisdom said...

Glad your daughter is ok, Brian. Isn't it great to be a part of a community?