group tug

Last week, Em and Soph participated in their school's annual field day. I loved watching the kids go from event to event in their mixed grades groups with the Grade 8s as team leaders. I was proud of my kids' achievements, but I was also proud of the student body as I witnessed encouragement in the competitions - a collective effort to seek personal best.

My favourite part? The tug o' war.  Suddenly the kid who can't run the fastest is the optimal player because of his strength. And the kid who felt like she couldn't do anything really well was needed to pull with her team - and the cheers from the crowd were thrilling.

Tug of war is something that has been played for centuries, an ancient game that tests strength, endurance, and resilience. Some ancient myths talk about the sun and moon playing tug of war -of light pulling against darkness.

And if you've ever tugged with a team, you know that the rhythm of working together is as important -if not more important- than the strength of the individual mates.

It's not hard to see that parallel with living...

Ralph and I had our date night at the Indwell dinner last night. We heard some incredible stories of hope that reminded me of another kind of tugging... the battle for dignity in living. Indwell works to help people leave behind homelessness, find affordable housing, and support for the daily trials that come with mental illness and painful memories. This is a pic of my sister Jess (on the right) and Nicole. Nicole shared her story of leaving behind homelessness and shelter hopping to her current life of independent living in a safe and supportive community. When an organization can motivate others to renovate abandoned or rundown buildings to create affordable housing for those who have no home, the parallel is obvious - restored buildings for restored souls. My sister Jess works with Indwell, an organization that is a tug of war with people like Nicole, pulling against the forces that threaten dignity, beauty, and life. Check it out:

 And this tug of war in our family - the one where we are pulling against the forces that threaten to discourage us as we take care of our kids. I find that we are often living with anticipated discouragement.  Will today hold good health - or another fever? It's a tug of war with the heart on trying to find joy even if things don't go as planned.  Once again, Rachel is battling pain issues; today she's home with a fever. We know that she will need another surgery to stitch up a fistula that seems to have developed in her stomach lining from the old g-tube site. We also know that something isn't quite right in her plumbing - but we have a super nephrologist pulling with us. His office called this week to say they consulted with the urology and radiology folks to agree on some testing that might help us understand how to help.

That tug of war image from the girls' field day hasn't left me... I am reminded once again we are not alone. No one should be alone. Even if the rhythm isn't quite right with the people that are trying to help, we can't give up working together.  Sometimes the working together part is intimidating as we challenge each other not to be complacent.  Sometimes the working together part is messy because we have to hold each other accountable to what it means to live and act in communion with each other. Christ challenges us to love through that awkward rhythm because His love trumps all brokenness.

This morning, I glanced at the daily prayer in my devo which asks us to expand "our capacity to suffer with others and for an expanding generosity of heart."  I love that. Words to live by. Words to act on.