Beth and I spent most of this beautiful, perfect weather, spring day, planting trees. Several plots of land surrounding our home have been bought lately and people are encroaching on our little slice of country paradise. So, we decided to plant trees along the line of our property to help keep it private and bucolic.
When you are planting new trees one of the most important things you can do is drive stakes into the ground and tie a string from it to the tree. You want to give it as much support as you can so that it can take root and thrive.
As we drove the support stakes into the ground surrounding the trees I thought about friends and family who are currently going through tough challenges and difficulties. They are like the newly planted trees. The storms of life are blowing through their lives and without the support of others, they won’t make it.
I want to be one of the supports for those around me who are hurting. Firmly planted, reaching out, grabbing them and saying; “I will not let you go. No matter what happens, I’ve got you.” After all, they would and have done, the same for me.
This morning I had to pull up a part of the porch we’ve been working on. The problem was that a particular spot was weak. If you didn’t step in the particular place one would never notice the “give” but when you hit it just right there was no missing the lack of stability. I unscrewed the section of flooring and discovered there wasn’t cross beam to aid the support of this portion. So, I added a couple of two by fours, dropped the wood floor back in place, added a few extra screws and; “viola!” no more weak spot.
Reflecting on the weak spot I thought about the areas of weaknesses in our own lives. Sometimes the vulnerable places are well-known to us and those who care for us. These are hurts, habits, and hangups, which are easily visible and not difficult to find. Then there are those hidden areas that unless the precise place is touched, a name is mentioned, temptation beckons, fragility exposed, we give, perhaps even believe in, an image of strength and control.
Knowing and adding support for our vulnerable areas takes first a willingness to see the soft spots and allow others to view them as well. Then, in humbleness, we seek guidance in how best to make strong areas which are weak. Many times our frailties are revealed to us by others. Though we may be uncomfortable with others knowing our flaws, defects and shortcomings, many times it is the keen eye, and strong support of a friend, that helps put us on the road to true inner wisdom and strength.
This morning an elderly man chose the pew in front of me for the worship service. His choice of place was based on it being near one of the large wooden decorative beams located in the sanctuary. He had great difficulty sitting and standing so he used the beam
to steady himself. The church building itself was supporting him. When it came time to go to the front of the sanctuary to receive communion he slowly raised himself and made his way forward. The older gentleman couldn’t bend his knees at the railing as the priest served the body and the blood so the priest reached out to him to make sure he was served, included.
As I watched and reflected on the scene it was a beautiful reminder of what the community of faith should be, what we’re called to do. There are hurt, broken, scarred people who we encounter both inside and outside the church. We aren’t called to heal them, only God can do that. Our purpose is to include, support, serve and love them in every way possible.