June 22, 2010
Thunder, Dogs & Practice, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 25
I decided to give y’all a break from my micro-cosmic world of moving and packing. However, before I decided that, I gave myself a break from the same circumstances. I spent a delightful 2 days traveling mid-to-western Michigan in a minivan with a bunch of semi-strangers. Sounds like a mission trip, doesn’t it? In some ways it was, but without the destination of a disaster area and without the focus of fixing anything. And, as a bonus, I wasn’t in charge of anything.
Get In The Car Ministries puts a great deal of emphasis on the outcomes of our assignments. But it’s usually not physically installing vinyl siding or floor tiling or the roofing repairs we are referring to. Those are only the means of achievement. The goal is to complete projects, thereby effectively taking them completely off the oppressive “to do” yoke of those whose physical lives have been in shambles. There are also two sub-culture emphases. One is that sharing our GOD-induced desire for service with others restores their faith in people and in GOD. The other is to support that those who serve on our teams so that they come to their own thunderbolt understanding of how it is that they ended up with us in the first place.
Well, the thunderbolt was mine this trip. It struck me after spending 24 extremely comfortable, fun, and funny hours with these particular five ladies. Having spent the previous day shopping, eating, shopping, eating, shopping and eating, on Sunday morning we found ourselves sitting outside the Golden Brown Bakery in downtown St. Joseph. Under the watchful eye of “Homer” one of St. Joseph’s interactive art “Hot Diggity Dog” project sculptures, we were sipping coffee, munching sweets, solving our problems, solving world problems, and finding reasons to laugh along the way.
On the surface, we didn’t have anything specifically in common. In fact, it seemed we were closer to having nothing at all in common. All five of my companions are mothers of Autistic children; I have never been a mother. All are happily married, and able to good-naturedly grouse about their spouses. I don’t have a spouse to good-naturedly grouse about anymore. I do have plenty of experience being the sibling of a mentally challenged person, and well, there were plenty of funny husband-ism stories I could relate to. There were a few I could share, as well. One involved a Beagle puppy, a 2 year old Jack Russell, a no longer stray 5 year old black cat and a drastic misinterpretation of the word, “No.”
The major lesson that boomed through my heart was this: While we may have not traveled common paths, doggedly traveling our own paths has made us commonly stronger, steadier, more self-assured, practically non-judgmental, able to laugh at the drama, happy to be in the present and in each other’s presence.
Being able to give is an art form. Being comfortable accepting what is given is a struggle for well-tried, self-sufficient women like us. I believe our GOD-given, minivan-driven mission was to practice and polish our "give and accept." I believe this particulat team has it mastered. I also believe I want more practice time - can't wait to do it again.
Posted by jaselin at June 22, 2010 03:44 PM