Monday, May 02, 2005

Friends and Family

Sometimes, you really don't know how much you mean to people until something like this happens. Maybe it's not that you don't know, but that you take people for granted. Rick and I are very blessed to have so many people care about us. Many of our friends and family drove in the night of my surgery. My in-laws, in particular, hopped in their car and drove 14 hours to be here. Of course, they did not make it in time for the operation, but they were here the next day when they were moving me out of the surgical ER and into a room.

I will never forget one of my best friends in the whole wide world, L (I won't post her name on here to respect her privacy) who sat with me and held my hand and prayed and laughed with me as I was getting prepped for surgery. She kept my spirits up as the doctors and nurses hooked me up to more and more machines and inserted more and more IVs.

Then there's K, my husband's best friend. What a guy. He was at my apartment taking care of things that I knew Rick and I would forget about. We hadn't even thought about what to do with our puppy. K was there. He took care of enough of the things around our house, and also made it to the hospital in time to keep Rick calm and grounded for me before my surgery.

My parents and sister made it in not long after that. These people stayed in the hospital all night long. The pastor from the church that I went to as a child in Kentucky drove down to be with my family, and he drove back home that night once the operation was complete. I never saw him, but I know he was there.

There are countless others, but one group that I want to speak about specifically, my church family.

First of all, I want to make it clear that we have only now been at this church for almost 2 years. At the time my transplant took place, we knew very, very few people.....but that didn't stop them. I have never in my life met a group of people that care more and show it by action as the people at Otter Creek. We did not go hungry in the months following my transplant. I received calls and cards and visits from perfect strangers. People wanting to do our laundry, clean my house, take me back and forth to the hospital for additional tests and blood work and doctor's appointments. My husband didn't want me to be alone during the first several weeks after my surgery, and the people from Otter Creek were always more than willing to help. To sit while I slept. To keep me company. To just simply be there.

I have often thought about what motivated these guys to action. I've gone to other churches before, smaller churches even. Churches where I knew everyone by name, but I've never seen anything like this. Why are these guys so different? I think I know. I think it's because they have a grasp on what it means to be united in Christ....on what it means to be a church family. They really did treat me like they would a daughter or a sister.

Often, we talk about our church as family, but we don't really mean it. It's like we use the word "family" to describe the people we worship with, even though we don't necessarily treat them like family. Acquaintances, definitely, family, well, maybe occasionally. But more like the "Thanksgiving-get-together" kind of family where you're re-united with cousins and aunts and uncles that you haven't seen in ages and you're comfortable giving them hugs, but not really being there for them.

I am honored to be apart of this family of faith. That's just what we are. United by our faith in Christ, a bond that goes much deeper than blood. I smile at that thought, and I'm sure He does, too.

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