No, I haven’t had a drink. And I’m still eating five (actually 4-6) vegetables a day. But my life, or more importantly the life of a very dear friend, has veered way off course. As a result, today, so has my post.
One of my friends has breast cancer. She’s had one successful surgery and is now waiting for test results which will determine what comes next. Definitely radiation. Maybe chemotherapy.
Those are the facts.
As it turns out, this friend has been living abroad for the year with her husband and children. So now they are moving back home, a good five months earlier than planned. They will move back into their house and their kids will go back to their old school in the middle of the year.
Those are the logistics.
But the truth?
The truth is that I have witnessed an amazing thing. Something I knew about my community and my life, but which was acted out live and right in front of me. Something that makes it hard for me to imagine ever leaving this place.
People I know well and people I barely know – we RALLIED.
We needed someone to coordinate messages to the group of friends at home, waiting and ready to help. DONE
We needed a way to get my friend and her family and their luggage from NJ to PA. DONE
We needed a house for the renters who are in my friend’s home to move into (that’s a place for 2 adults, 3 children, and 2 large dogs!) in less than a week. Furnished. Preferably for two months. And preferably for free. DONE
And don’t even think about the food. What do we do when we want to help and don’t know what to do? We bake. We cook. We stock refrigerators. I don’t think my friends will need to cook for the next six months if they don’t want to. Dinner for five? DONE AND DONE (and repeat).
In less than 24 hours, it all happened. What’s even more amazing, is that I know that this group will be rallying for the next HOWEVER long it takes to help this family through what I hope with all of my heart will be “just” a rough patch.
In 24 hours, we have gone from being the people on their annual holiday party invitation list to being TEAM Z/C.
Friends who are religious often ask me (the Atheist) what I do for community without a church? Where do I get my strength and my solace? Who helps me when I’m in crisis? Who guides me when I am lost?
Well, little hometown of mine, old friends and new friends who have rallied this week – IT’S YOU.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still pissed off about the cancer. Majorly pissed off.
But for today, right now, I am also grateful.