That’s what friends are for: living our own IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

I’ve never been so thankful to be warm.

You see, we live in a drafty old house, and in the main living areas, our primary source of heat is wood. This usually works great in Seattle, where even in the winter, temperatures rarely drop below 45 F.

But have you been watching the weather recently? Today it’s supposed to get up to 39 F, which is positively balmy.

None of this would be a problem, except: life happens. And this week, the way life happened was

dishwasher breaking+sink leaking+my husband getting the flu+running out of wood=4 days spent in my snowpants, watching dishes pile up around me

At first I told myself that it was going to be okay, that we could power through till Erik recovered. After all, my kids’ rooms were insulated and warm. What’s a few more days stuck hanging out in Angus’ bedroom? I reasoned. And we can eat take-out. Problem solved! #campinginside, right?

By the morning of Day 4, the shine was wearing off.

Then I remembered that, if I showed up at church on Sunday and my friend Dave found out that we’d been without wood for seven days without me telling him, I was going to be in Big Trouble.

I hate being in trouble.

I also realized that my ability to make a game of this was eroding. The mask was cracking. Asking Jesus for strength was no longer enough. The twin demons of despair and discouragement were circling; it was time for me to call in the reinforcements.

Let me stop a moment to ask you: who are your reinforcements? Who are the people who, when they read on Facebook that you have an essay that needs 2,000 hits to earn you payment, will print out a giant picture of you with the words, “Help me get paid!” on it and put it on the info table at church for you,like my friend Kay did for me? Who are the people who will do something simply amazing and expectedly unexpected when they receive the following text from you?


Thanks to my people, I watched an outpouring of love like George received in It’s a Wonderful Life. I got to watch the family of Jesus do what we’re created and commanded to do, like it says in Acts 2:

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.

Well, I had a need and my people showed up. Dave and Judy, who of course prayed but also offered to bring wood and a space heater over. Rod and Liz, who not only called to check on me but came to look at my sink and dishwasher and, along with Dave, organized a wood-splitting party at my house for Saturday morning. Robin–my daughter’s dance teacher–who made Every. Single. Dancer. carry wood out to my car when I came to pick up Aeddan after dance. Mark, who lives 45 minutes from me but got in his car to come split wood in the dark the second he got the call from Dave and Rod. Al and his son Seth, who are splitting wood at my house right now, despite the fact that Al has worked something like 1,324 days in a row. And of course the twelve or so people who will be at my house tomorrow morning, while Erik is sick in bed and I am not even home because I have a meeting–these people will be at my house splitting wood to get us through the week’s predicted cold weather.

Thanks to my people, my reinforcements, I don’t have to resist those circling devils on my own. I don’t have to pretend this is all a grand adventure. And when, as I sat in my car last night, and I saw that line of dancers and their armfuls of wood, I put my hands to my mouth and cried and laughed and felt something that I cannot adequately describe here.

So, who are your people? And, what are the masks and walls you use to keep people from seeing what you’re dealing with?

If you have your village, and they don’t know what’s going on, tell them. Even if it hurts and feels awkward. Trust me on this one. Let’s reclaim the true meaning of friend from its watered-down Facebook version. And if you don’t have this village, it’s time to build one, find one, join one. If you don’t know how, ask. You can ask me!

I’m warm now. I’ve got a bucket to catch the water under my drippy sink. I’m filled up with the joy and peace that comes with being loved. So I have energy to spare helping you find your people.

They are waiting for your text.


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