“Where’s my jacket?” my eleven-year-old daughter asked. There was panic in her voice.
She frantically darted around our hotel room. First, she checked the closet. Next, our suitcases. Then, near the door.
“I’m not sure,” I responded. “I don’t remember seeing it this morning.”
Outwardly, I tried to remain calm. Inwardly, I panicked.
This wasn’t just any jacket. It was a special jacket.
For the last seven months, she’d traveled the country on the national tour of a Tony-Award winning musical. This tour exclusive jacket was a gift she’d received from the producers on opening night. She’d worn it constantly ever since.
It’d been with her in Chicago, San Jose, Spokane, Fort Worth, Miami, West Point, and around 76 other cities in between. What started as a meaningful gift, was now a constant in her daily travels and represented months of memories.
Now, at 6:30 a.m. in our hotel room somewhere in Virginia, her tour jacket was nowhere to be found.
Her face grew suddenly pale. “I think I left it at the restaurant last night!”
If we’d been staying in town just a few hours longer, this wouldn’t be a problem. But we weren’t. We had to be on the company bus, headed to Tennessee, within the hour.
We reluctantly left town without her jacket, unsure whether we’d ever see it again.
The loss devastated my daughter. And, even though I promised to do everything in my power to find it from a distance, I was riddled by guilt. Why hadn’t I been more aware of its whereabouts the night before?
As with all the best tales, though, despair and loss isn’t the end of our story.
Community came to our rescue. Thanks to my husband, one of his coworkers, and this coworker’s cousin who happened to live in that particular city in Virginia, her jacket safely arrived in the mail this week.
What does her lost-and-found jacket remind me about community? Here are three things.
3 Ways Community Keeps Us Needy and Why That’s a Good Thing
1. True community requires give and take
It’s often difficult for me to ask for help. I don’t mind inconveniencing myself to help someone else. What I do mind is asking someone else for help. I don’t want to be a burden.
But here’s the thing about any relationship within community, it’s meant to be a two-way exchange. It’s not really community if I help others, but refuse to let them help me too.
True community requires that I not only give, but I also take.
2. True community demands dependency on others
If I could have retrieved the jacket on my own, I would have. But I couldn’t.
The “take” of community means I have to admit my need for others. It goes beyond simply not wanting to inconvenience others. It requires that I humbly acknowledge I’m not self-sufficient and I wasn’t created to be. God made me to depend on Him and on others.
True community requires my dependency on God and others.
3. True community points to God’s active care
What were the chances that someone we knew had a relative in that exact city? Not only that, but a relative who was willing to drive to this restaurant, pick up her jacket, and pay the cost of getting it to us? If we had to lose her jacket, this was the perfect city. Only God could have orchestrated such details.
True community points me to God’s active care.
For years to come, my daughter’s tour jacket will likely remind me of a city somewhere in Virginia and how community came to our rescue. And, as it does, I’ll remember that true community keeps me needy … and that, well, it’s a very good thing.