Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.Shauna Niequist
If nothing else, this pandemic has taught us that we need each other. Families need each other. Friends need each other. Communities need each other.
Families have been under stress the last couple of months and it’s highlighted our need to surround ourselves with just the right people who encourage our faith, encourage us to be strong, and encourage our families to be the best they can be.
In my world, encouragement is less about the one-line quote on Facebook and more about who is in my story and how we comfort, help, and walk alongside each other.
I’m a writer and it’s a solitary business most of the time. However, I’ve built a community around that area of my life. I’ve got writing sisters born out of writer’s groups, attending conferences, and a cohort of encouraging friends and family.
In our family and marriage we have friends who have travelled with us the whole journey.
In our first year of marriage, we sold everything we had and moved to Perth to study at a Theological College. We decided we were going to be poor Baptist pastors. I worked and my husband studied.
After a few semesters, it was obvious that we had made a mistake. It seemed like the end of the world and we were a mess.
Some friends suggested we join them once a week for dinner. So, we did. Each week, we’d talk through things and they’d encourage us in our life.
After a year, we were healed to a certain extent–our faith secure and a path before us of purpose. If it wasn’t for those friends, we wouldn’t be who we are today.
Who Will You Run To?
When my kids were thirteen and fourteen, I sat them down and asked, ‘If home ever became intolerable or we had a big fight, where would you run to?’
They laughed and said, ‘Why would that ever happen?’
I told them that even the closest families have problems. ‘Sometimes you can’t tell your parents things because you’re scared of getting into trouble or feel they won’t understand, or they might judge you. So, if that ever happens, who will you run to?’
Both of them answered differently, but what I was most pleased about was that they said they’d either go to their grandparents or to friends of ours who were like family.
‘That’s all I need to know,’ I said. ‘If you ever find yourselves in a pickle of any sort and you feel you can’t come to us for whatever reason, call those guys and go to them. I’m happy with that.’
They shook their heads, looking at me as if I were crazy and went back to whatever they’d been doing before. End of conversation.
Our kids need a well-developed home team. They need to know their parents are always there for them, they need to know there are safe people to run to, and they need to have friends that become their middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.
Auditioning My Home Team
As I add new friends into the mix, I’m auditioning them as my home team. I have to be careful because once they’re in my home team, they’re in my home team forever.
There’s a girl I’ve known since she was twelve. She was in our youth group back in the day and had a lot of problems. I became part of her home team. Now she’s in her forties and I’m still part of her home team, and she’s become part of mine.
If you’re feeling a little lost in these isolation days and are lacking a home team, it’s time to start building one. These teams don’t form overnight, sometimes they’re the product of many years of friendship. Sometimes these friends come from a sporting group connection, a church, your child’s school, or your neighbours.
Don’t do this thing called life alone. Build your home team–an online home team if distance is an issue.
In these pandemic days, it’s a good time to assess who our home teams are, to foster some community spirit, meet and help our neighbours.
These times call for home teams. Who’s on your home team? Whose home team are you on?