My shoes are extra squeaky as I walked through my current work floor. I wonder if they’ve always squeaked this much. This morning, I’ve taken more of a marching approach to diminish the squeaking for the benefit of the other 80ish people who sit in this section of the building. I look like a fool. This is probably the 3rd time I’ve sat at this desk. In the past six months, I’ve severed four different positions, was desk-less for 3 months only to be moved around three more times before packing up again to move across campus to the new building. If I’ve learned anything, change is constant in this neck of the woods. CONSTANT. But I feel at home here, and it’s because of the people- my co-workers who have become friends, shoulders to cry on, partners to dance with, and good life-partners have make the changes easy. I think that’ the key in this world. Maybe it’s the entire earthly planet or maybe it’s just the Silicon Valley, which seems to run as fast as the wifi around here, it’s chaotic and exhausting but people make it easy.
Two Fridays ago, I cancelled my Facebook event for the MS Walk… Life was going too fast and I didn’t just want ANOTHER responsibility to host, smile and pretend. After a pep talk, I sent out an email to the tribe. My people. The ones who don’t care if I smile, will help host, and will laugh with me if I stumble over my words because I’m too tired. So, on the 23 we donned matching t-shirts, loaded into 3 cars and mobbed over to Vasona Park.
Standing at registration surrounded by my people was an “ahha” moment for me. It’s not that I’m hanging with my friends or that they were raising money for something that benefits me. It’s that these actions said, “we stand with you against MS.” I wasn’t alone. I haven’t beat MS. Shoot, it’s gotten a hell of a lot hard since this event. But the to stand in solidarity to wear a tacky orange shirt to represent the fight I go through brought me to a keen awareness of the community of the church. I was trying to fight back tears from simply feeling overwhelmingly loved.
I pulled my crap together. Seconds later, I hear a group yell my name. As I turn around, I see my family standing there in another obnoxiously orange shirt with a hashtag emblazoned across it reading, “Team Tee Tee 2016.” Just as I wiped the dripping mascara from under my eyes I see them and pretty much lost it. I cried like a little baby. They drove 9 hours through the night (with a toddler) to participate at the MS walk with me.
NOW, it’s really my whole tribe standing next to me saying, “We choose to fight this disease with you.” Do you know how humbling this is? I’ve read scripture about community, I know familial love, but this, this was looking around and thinking, “this is the church.” It was an honor to be witness to God people being God’s people.
1 Peter 3 reads, “Be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” They sorta understand my disease, actively showed their love by waking up early, walking 3 miles, driving 9 hours, and financially supporting an organization that doesn’t do anything for them as an individual- all this gives me strength to keep going. Yes, I hope every damn day that I will wake up to the headline that someone found a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. But the tribe makes it a bit easier till I see that headline.
On Tuesday, I got the news that my autoimmune system has begun to attack my thyroid and thus threw off a bunch of my hormones, sucked all my energy from me, and kind of just gave my body a general, “screw you” approach. This is a reality of MS, it’s slowly going to destroy my body. It sucks. It’s going to get worse. But then, I called my best friend and cried on the way back to work. I texted my pastor. I showed up to my boss’ desk and asked for a hug. This is my tribe that carries me when I can’t hold myself up. THIS IS THE CHURCH. This is what makes life do-able.
It’s not an organized small group Bible study or Sunday morning nylons, it’s tears of joy at a MS walk and encouraging texts when life gets hard. It laughter around dinner tables, prayers in your roommates bed, it’s in the every day that Jesus seems to do his largest miracles in the life of the church.