What’s Your F Word: Family & Friendship

JesusFamily and friendship are my F words for today. How do we create healthy families and networks of friends? How do we live with respect in creation? How we share?

That passage from Acts is one of my favourite parts of the Bible. A model of how the first followers of Jesus lived. Sharing, caring, and having an impact on the society around them. There is a trend developing of small, intentional communities. Some are communities that are founded on Jesus life and teachings. Not abbeys or monasteries, but homes for ordinary people and families. Others are based in other religions, or secular. But all of them are based on shared values of that particular community.

A quick Google search for intentional communities’ returned 7.8 million hits in less than a second!

People who have realized that the way that most of us live in separate homes is not only a fairly recent phenomena when it is compared to the way people lived just a few generations ago when living with extended family was the norm, or taking in boarders was the norm. But it’s also hard on the environment and can be very isolating.

For a dedicated introvert like myself, the prospect of living in community has always given me the heebie-jeebies. But these new intentional communities offer private space as well as shared living/eating/cooking space.

Mardi Tindal, a former moderator of the United Church, and her husband are starting an intentional community with a few friends of theirs who are aging and want to be supportive to one another for as long as possible. Intentional communities share resources of all kinds.

At the 100 Women Who Care East Hants gathering last week, the library was asking for support for a Tool Library which would include space to come and fix things. When you stop and think about it, it is almost ridiculous the way we own so many identical things… lawn mowers, kitchen mixers, ladders etc. And most of us have lost the art of fixing things and need to be taught.

Btw, the library did not win that day, but they were up against a 10 year old boy who was speaking for the Children’s Wish Fund… a boy that had had multiple surgeries and tests and procedures related to his illness. Who could compete with that?

Now, I know that most of us aren’t going to start living communally. But, we can live out our shared values where we live.

Riverview’s are:

1. Focused on our faith
2. Welcoming, accepting and inclusive.
3. Caring for one another and connecting with our community.

Nine Mile River’s are:

1. To pray and seek faith.
2. Loving, compassionate and encouraging.
3. To serve and engage with our community.

This meme came across my Facebook feed yesterday and it struck me.

Picture1Struck me because sometimes I hear envious or jealous comments about what other churches are doing. We can always learn by looking over the fence to see what others are doing. But ultimately, we need to invest our time and energy in our community.

I am going to share a story with you about shared values from a woman that is married to a second cousin once removed of mine! At least that’s what I think the relationship would be.

Angela is, among other things, mother to an 18 year girl with autism, along with a host of other challenges. Angela handles these with grace, with humour, sometimes with whining, and sometimes with wine. She blogs at Life in the Special Lane. She is active in her church in a small town in Manitoba; a town that sponsored 5 refugee families, 45 people! Increasing their population by 1%.

Angela’s grandmother was in the hospital. Angela wrote this on her fb page and gave me permission to share it today: It was an emotional day in the palliative care room. My emotions were running high. Frustration, deep sadness, trauma, and fatigue to name a few. Byron and I had to bring Hannah along with the plan that she would watch a video in the small waiting room across from Grandma’s room. I was frustrated that I had to bring her and be an autism mom in addition to this (not complaining – just the easiest way on this day). Concerned that Hannah would see grieving and tears and this would upset her and I would have to deal with her in addition to my own pain.

The previous day the small waiting room was occupied by Grandma’s hospital neighbors who were being loud. Loud while we were sitting in hoped for peace in the palliative room. When we came to the hospital today, I immediately noticed that the waiting room again was occupied by the loud group.

Filter not working (like less than normal) I complained to my family “GREAT – the fun bunch is there again. SIGH” But not giving a shit that they were there, I plunked Hannah down in the one empty chair with her video which prompted the ‘fun bunch’ to leave one by one. To which I didn’t care. (Usually I’m a little more considerate).

Hannah was fine watching her video as we went into Grandma’s room. It was a tough, tough day with lots of new realities. I took a break and went into the waiting room occupied only by Hannah and her video. “Despicable me”. The tears flowed. Weeping, sobbing. Ugly. Unstoppable.

Then the elderly woman who was the patient from the ‘fun bunch’ came and sat across from me. “Great” I thought.

“Are you okay?” she asked. I shook my head.

“Do you want to talk about it?” I shook my head.

“Can I pray for you?” I nodded.

Then she prayed out loud a beautiful prayer for me – a perfect stranger not knowing anything about me. Praying for strength and guidance. Short but beautiful. This act of kindness meant the world to me.

Lesson? Oh so many – but maybe for now not to be such a bitch (lol) but maybe to breathe and ponder what I’m going to say or better yet think. To remember that someone’s actions are not (likely) out to get me and that people are doing the best they can. Thank you patient of the “fun bunch.”

Shared values… Strangers who become friends even if just for a brief passage of time.

Shared values… Reaching out across what separates us to find the commonality.

Shared values.

46 Day by day, as they (the early followers of Jesus) spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home[k] and ate their food with glad and generous hearts,
47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 42)

Thanks be to God for the challenge and opportunity of being people with glad and generous hearts. Amen.

Acts 2: 42-47
June 18, 2017 – Elmsdale Pastoral Charge


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