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Friends and Family

I feel like I need to write this post because of the principles it reflects. It is certainly not my intent to hurt or offend anyone, and please know that this is not intended as a criticism or attack on any person or people beyond looking at “we as a society” and “we as the Body of Christ.”

All my life, I’ve heard people say,

When you move, you find out who your friends are.

…but it has never hit home for me as much as it has over the last couple of weeks.

Because, yeah, we moved. Locally, which is sometimes harder — as now, because it drags on, and on, and on.

Wolf made the decision to move, signed the lease, then left for a two-week Reserves duty in northern Mississippi. So I was supposed to pack and get ready. Yikes!

When he came home, we had a week until the day we’d declared “Moving Day” and scheduled to rent a truck.

On a couple of occasions, we had the blessing of borrowing a trailer from Helper #1 – a homeschool mama (family, of course) that I know only casually from our homeschool co-op. This allowed us to move some bookshelves over, which we then filled with books and had empty boxes to re-use.

When Moving Day arrived (Saturday), so did Tropical Storm Lee. And in spite of everyone’s apparent bafflement, we still moved. I had given notice, you see, and they didn’t care about the weather. I simply can’t afford to pay anymore days of rent on two homes!

We had assistance from Helpers #2 and #3, friends from Wolf’s job, and Helper #4, the husband of someone else I know casually through a homeschool group.

Two days later, still with the moving truck, thanks to the long weekend, we were trying to make a final trip to get all the odds and ends, then return it with a load of stuff that was going into our storage unit (conveniently, the location from which the truck came).

We were beyond exhausted, the kids were totally frazzled, I was injured in several places and had a week-long migraine… Just another fun move, eh? I tossed a desperate plea out to Facebook from my phone, asking if anyone could spare an hour or two to help Wolf unload — Nick had homework due the next day, and I was trying to wrestle Littles, leaving him solo.

Helper #5 showed up as a family. A sweet woman I know only casually from the homeschool co-op arrived with dinner in hand – a huge blessing we didn’t even know we needed. She rolled out some shelf liners in my kitchen while her husband helped Wolf finish unloading. And then they drove back to the old house with us to load the storage stuff. And THEN they drove with us to the storage to unload it! We tried to get them to go home (they had their young children with them, too), but they insisted. Bless their hearts!

After a day of comatose exhaustion, we spent the next week (well, around Wolf working and Nick going to school) trying to round up all the actual “last little things,” as well as cleaning the old house (including renting a carpet cleaner as required by the lease, disassembling our garden stuff and the tree-house in the back yard, etc.)

The final weekend, last weekend, we were still very much behind the curve. I’m not entirely sure why this move was so hard for us, but we were really in bad shape.

What a blessing when a young man formerly from Nick’s youth group said that he would be in town (from college an hour away), and he brought over his lawn-mower and weed-eater (and a friend) and took care of the yard. Helper #6 (does the lawnmower count as a separate helper?!).

So, I got to thinking…

We were members of and attended one church for almost an entire year after coming to Biloxi. We have been attending another church for a couple of months now, and feel like we have ties with the people there on many levels.

Number of Move Helpers who are from either of those churches? Zero.

Even in the “talk is cheap” department:

I had numerous long-distance friends on Facebook (as well as out of state family) express their wish that they were close enough to be able to help. But we had only one person from one of “our” two churches express regret that they were unable to help (with a quite legitimate reason), and offer us the service of their teenage son.

Did we go around pleading with individuals, or trying to “sign them up?” No. But any number of church members from both churches saw it on Facebook, and Wolf was at “our new church” and discussed it the Sunday before our Moving Day, so it’s not like it was a secret.

Look, I know people are busy. Like I said, I’m not trying to say that any certain person should have helped us. I certainly don’t feel like we’re somehow entitled to help. And I know that “the new church” had a picnic type event already scheduled for that Saturday; although that was presumably rained out, I understand that they might have felt committed that day.

Just a general observation.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
~ Galatians 6:2

Wolf and I have often worked towards developing more service oriented groups and projects at the churches we attend (and doing such things on our own). We are firmly committed to the idea that the church should be a community, doing more to serve the Body than just bring a casserole after a family has a new baby (and fewer and fewer churches even do that!)…

We are the Body of Christ.

Of course, one of my favorite bands has something to say on this very topic:

So, if we are the Body…

  • Why aren’t we fixing the leaky roof for that elderly lady?
  • Why aren’t we inviting those folks who are between jobs over for dinner?
  • Why aren’t we clearing the yard for that sweet older man?
  • Why aren’t we taking that new young mother out to the park for a moment of relative peace?
  • And sure: Why aren’t we helping a family move?

This isn’t about charity to the world at large.

In the most specific sense, this is about those people sitting in the pew next to you week in and week out.

Do you even know what their burdens are?

Are you helping to bear them?

Wolf pointed out that the service-oriented Christians we know often say that they don’t, in fact, even bother to “offer to help” or “ask if someone needs help.” Too often other issues will get in the way. They simply see a need, and step in and take action to meet it. His Hands…

The love of Christ was so bright and lovely in those who came and helped us bear this burden. All the more, perhaps, because they weren’t “close friends”, and could just as easily have decided they “didn’t have to get involved”. I thank God for sending them, and for their beautiful witness.

But where was the rest of the Body?


4 Responses to “Friends and Family”

  • evie says:

    I have experienced the same kind of thing. I am a single mom with very limited time/energy as it is and feel guilty that I can’t do more than I do. And there are times when I could use the help, but NOPE. One church in particular started up with a goal to become more service oriented for the community and they ended up falling into the whole “too many Bible studies to count, but maybe we can reach the lost with Bible studies” trap and they are now too busy to worry about community service. How much can you possibly learn about the Bible while others are out there DYING?! And to not help out current members of the church…we are missing the whole point. BTW, I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Casting Crowns, especially that song!

  • Brook says:

    Hi…we all know that there are no perfect churches, but I am so thankful that we are in one that has small groups…we are able to bear one anothers burdens more tangibly that way beacause we are more aware of the needs since we are weekly meeting in a small group at our home. I am sorry that you had such a difficult time Tiffany. I bet that no one intentionally didn’t help….people are just busy with their own lives and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with that. You are so right about how we need to be Christ’s hands and feet…everyone is at a different place in their walk as they learn to do that. I’m sorry that you all had such a rough go of things with your move.

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