It Takes a Village

This Lent has been new for me.

Not in the stories or rhythm, rather it has been a different sort of dance. It’s a dance, not born of my desires or even best qualities, but a dance that is built upon some of my greatest weaknesses and insecurities.

Too many times I lead with my dominant foot. But, this year, I found myself swaying and stumbling far removed from my life of old, from the movements that normally make me comfortable, trusting that this new dance I am learning will make sense in the long road.  

Truth be told, I limit myself based on faulty notions about who I am and who I am not. That self induced truth strips me of many opportunities to serve God. Very rarely do I branch out to invest in things that cause me to feel like, maybe, just maybe, I don’t have ALL that is needed.

Every human activity can be put at the service of the divine and of love. We should all exercise our gift to build community.
— John Vanier

This weekend, me and my people, were blessed with the opportunity to watch two sweet baby boys so that two of our other people could finally get some well deserved rest. I found myself holding lots of babies. My role as Aunt Cookie is pretty secure. The jovial, delightfully overweight one of my friend group, I often find myself with babies and toddlers on my lap. I am truly, madly, deeply a comfortable person from my thighs to my giggle.  

Because of that, I struggle with discipline. Not one for rules either, I find it hard to enforce things and, to make it worse, it’s very rarely that I’m taken seriously when I do try.  

So as Kate and I watched these dear boys, we fell into a rhythm. She, a seasoned mom. I, a fun-loving aunt.

I know little about babies or children. I don’t even know that much about being an adult. Not surprisingly halfway through the day, I started feeling insecure about what I had to offer. What do toddlers even eat? (Answer: everything and yet nothing.) What am I doing? (Answer: I don’t know.) Which way does this dang diaper go? (Answer: Not that way.) How much poop is too much poop? (Answer: You’ll find out fast.) Can you OD on apples?  (Answer: TBD). On and on, I questioned myself and my ability. If I can’t be ALL things to these boys and my friends, what am I even doing?

Later that night, as I took it upon myself to put big brother to bed, I found myself at another hard place of not knowing if I was enough for what he needed. As the rain started pouring and I stared out the window pondering my next step, he came and crawled in my lap. We rocked in the squeaking rocking chair recounting the day as I laughed and jabbered on about my favorite parts. The park, O THE PARK, was great! The walk, O THE WALK, was great! Do you remember when we played in the sand? O that was great too. What a day, sweet boy, what a day!  

Pretty soon he was fast asleep in my arms.

That moment was humbling and beautiful for me. I can’t do a lot. There’s so much that I don’t know. There’s so much that I can’t offer. But I can rock that sweet baby to sleep.

When I think about the body of Christ, and what it means to live in the here-and-now of Lent and our salvation story, I will think of that rocking chair and that sweet boy. In the grand scheme of things, I didn’t have a lot to offer him. But I had willingness and presence.

Those boys didn’t need the best of me. They needed all of me. They needed all of us as a community of aunts and uncles. We needed to be all in it together, trusting each other to fill in when the moment called for, our strengths and weaknesses melding together in perfect unity.

Isn’t that what the church is to look like? Isn’t that what community is all about?

When I look at our journey towards Lent, I can’t help but be struck by this truth.

We are all wounded. We are all broken puzzle pieces trying to fit together in the grand narrative of faith. We are all desperately seeking community. We are all wounded, faulty pilgrims dancing to a song we don’t entirely know and can’t fully comprehend.

As we continue on this road to Easter, may we be filled with the assurance that all of us is enough for Christ our Lord. All of us is enough for our community.  

This weekend we lived out the truth that it takes a village to raise a baby. But, even more so, it take a village to be human.

We need each other. And God needs us as we are- fully human.  Faults, insecurities, flaws, and falls, every aspect of ourselves on full display with willingness and presence.

To God be the glory.