This is a guest post by Beth Nelson. Beth and her husband, Mike, are part of our Leadership Team and an important part of the Parish family.
“I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching, they are your family.” —Jim Butcher
I am remarkably fortunate, and perhaps a bit of a rarity, in that my husband and I come from two amazing families. Both of our sets of parents havebeen married more than 40 years. We have brothers we enjoy and get along with. Meanwhile, we have loads of friends who don’t speak to their siblings, whose divorced parents act like children, or whose marriages are fronts for the kids or the outside world. They’d almost rather forget they have a family. It’s difficult to trust when, all or most of your life, you’ve had to guard your heart against people who shared your home.
I’m also extraordinarily grateful, though that seems too weak of a word, to have friends I consider family. People who are on my kids’ emergency contact list. People I’ve been with immediately after they had a devastating doctor’s appointment or a heartbreaking phone call. Ones who know what I need even–or, especially–when I don’t. They’re the kinds of friends Solomon might have been thinking about when he said, “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).
When we started meeting about the Parish, we talked about core values, about the blood and guts of this church–what made us run, what we believed in most deeply. Family came up a lot. We want to be a place of family, people who stand beside one another without flinching. We have Gatherings that feel like reunions. Table Group reminds me of a big Sunday lunch, kids playing while the adults enjoy one another’s company over delicious food.
This church is only a few months into existence, but “family” is what comes to my mind when we’re together. Relationships are forming and being cemented that I anticipate lasting many, many years. Forgive me for being morbid, but it’s likely that one day, everything will blow up for somebody in our midst. And on that day, this family will surround, support, pray for, cook for, and love on in tangible ways.
I know, because we already are.