Thursday, July 19, 2007

More than just a church...

One of the things I notice most about living in the Silicon Valley is our lack of family in the area. All of my family lives in Idaho or Washington. J's parents lived in Sacramento and have both passed away. Since he is an only child, he pretty much just has us.

We're not alone in this respect. We have lots of friends who moved here from other parts of the country, or another country altogether, for a job and have ended up staying long term. J and I both fall into this category as well (J was moved to the Silicon Valley from Chico by his then employer in 1989. I moved here the same year from Idaho to work as a nanny for a Stanford professor.)

Several years ago, I was working part time doing admitting for an urgent care in Palo Alto. One frequent scenario would occur- a patient would be brought in by his/her spouse with kids in tow... I remember one specific day when a patient checked in with chest pain. His wife had brought him in and was sitting in our waiting room with their two young children while he was taken back for tests. I could read the fear on her face as she tried to entertain the children while wanting to be with him in the back- the fear of not knowing what was going on with her husband.

I remember asking if there was someone I could call for her who could come to take the kids, so that she could be with her husband. Her response was that there was no one to call. They had been moved to the area by his company. They only knew people that he worked with, and she didn't feel that they were close enough to anyone to impose on them. I asked her if they attended a church or synagogue that I could call? Again, no...

Fortunately, her husband was fine. His chest pain was stress related, but not a heart attack. I remember, even as they were leaving, how it grieved me to know that this wife and mother had no one to call on. What if it had turned out differently? Where could she have turned?

It made me appreciate our church family all the more. I know that at any time I can call the church office for help (and I have). I have been in the hospital ER with J, and people have come and taken my children home. When I was hospitalized for emergency surgery, a friend came and took two of my children home overnight. Another mom delivered groceries to J while I remained in the hospital so that he wouldn't have to worry about what to feed the kids. We have had meals brought to us and we bring meals to others.

Because, in the end, we're more than a church- we're family. And no, it isn't always perfect. And yes, sometimes we're a little kooky. But that's OK. Families are like that...

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