Yesterday the four of us packed our Civic with a cooler filled with strawberries, apricots, carrots, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, roasted red pepper hummus, pretzels, a few avocados (and forgot to pack a knife), a few diapers, a few books, a wagon and we were off to Toledo to spend the day with Cory, Jake’s closest friend, and Sarah, the woman Cory will marry in late fall (Hurrah!).
Due to the limited nature of our time together I found myself asking them intense and klutzy question after question. Because I don’t talk to either of them on the phone with any sort of frequency so my need to just soak them in manifest itself in mother-in-law type probing questions: “How is your search for a home church coming?”, “How is your PhD/ABD work coming?”, “How is Sarah enjoying her job?”, “What are you learning from your soon-to-be father-in-law?”, “What are you think about lately?”, “Who is officiating your ceremony?”.
You get the picture. I was, let’s say it, ever so ungraceful and uncouth in conversation.
That last question though yielded a response though that hasn’t allowed me to stop thinking.
Me: Who is officiating your ceremony?
Cory: You are!
Me: I am?
Cory: You are! We are opening up the floor at the wedding for people to share with us why they support our marriage, blessing us, encouraging us.
As Shauna Niequist puts it in her book Bittersweet, he has made us part of his Home Team.
“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 anyway. The home team people are the ones you can text with five minutes’ notice, saying, “I’m on my way, and I’m bringing tacos.”
“There are two reasons you need to know who your home team is. First, you need to know who they are because they need you. […] 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. The second reason you need to know who your home team is because then you know who your home team is not. Everyone else is everyone else.”
“And it doesn’t last forever, that team. It shifts sometimes, when you move, or as life changes every few years. That’s not wrong. But at any given season, you’ve got to know, essentially, who you’re responsible for when it all falls apart.”
Jen Hatmaker calls them The Council in her book 7.
My friend, Christine Jeske, calls them her Granola Friends (Dear God, how many times I have prayed her very same prayer – God, Just give me one granola friend.).
When Jake and I moved back to the States following our year overseas we were challenged by a friend to look for others and spend time with those you want to do life with.
Over the recent weeks I have taken notice of my compete and utter lack of investment and availability for my Home Team.
We all know the suburban drill. We over-commit. We make new contacts. We try to keep up with everyone – the old the new the in between. And, if you’re anything like me, you just give up.
You don’t call anyone and have stopped making diligent efforts to keep in contact with most people because it simply gets too overwhelming.
Phone calls go unreturned for weeks, months at a time.
Thank you letters never get written and remain a pile of empty notes on your desk.
E-mails go unresponded, piling up in your in-box just staring at you every time you open your computer.
Packages, needing to be sent, sit on the kitchen bar for months before being shoved in the closet, continuing to be unsent for the next six months to a year because I’m simply too over-committed and am not intentional enough to make the time to finish the package and make it to the post office during office hours.
My complete and utter lack of response and responsibility have no direct response to how much I think of my Home Team. In fact, I obsessively think of them throughout my every day. My actions, or lack-there-of, are simply a refection of my inability to prioritize those who are on my Home Team over those who are not.
When Cory shared that he would like for us to speak at his wedding, that we would take part in the blessing of his marriage to Sarah, I was honored and knew we were part of his Home Team. His actions and request demonstrate it.
It also made me realize how often I don’t share with my Home Team, Council, Granola Friends, Those I Want to Do Life With how much I love them, how much I appreciate them, how much I need them, how honored I am that they would be willing to keep me around despite my absolute inability to care for and love them as they deserve.
Asheley once shared with me that intentions are good, but at the end of the day that’s all they are – intentions.
Although I have intentions of demonstrating to my Home Team how valuable they are to my livelihood, I never do. Intentions without manifestation are empty.
Shauna says in best, yet again:
“There is a totally finite amount of time and energy that each of us have to give to the people in our lives. You can give yours to your home team. Or you can spend it haphazardly on an odd collection of people who need something from you, largely because you don’t want to say no and risk what might happen if you do that. This is a terrible reason to be friends with someone, because it’s a ticking time bomb of resentment and codependence.”
Two weeks ago I was a ticking time bomb. My week was filled up with haphazard commitments that chewed up my time and spit it right out on my lap, much like Sweet Basil does with eggs. It was that gross and that messy.
So I took the following week off. Canceled appointments, cleared the calendar (for the most part, let’s be honest) and hunkered down to care for the Home Team I live with.
And those I want to do life with? Those who give me such life in our relationships? Those who are part of my Council, my Home Team? Maybe, just maybe you might receive a bit of this fantastic granola (Thanks Pam for the recipe!) in the mail. God willing.
Pam’s Amazing Molasses Granola
Pam’s Notes: This is less a recipe than a guideline and I make it a little different every time depending on what I have in the pantry. A handful of pistachios left over? Throw them in! No dried cranberries, no problem! Use those dried up apricots instead. Not enough honey? Some extra molasses won’t hurt. I don’t skimp on the salt because my hubby likes it. In fact, what he really likes is when I use the sea salt that comes in bigger pieces so he gets a couple of extra salty bites. Also, the oatmeal is the really large box, not the smaller one. This makes a lot and I usually freeze half.
1 large box of old fashioned oats
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. oat bran
1/2 c. wheat bran
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c. each – Walnuts, pecans, almonds, coconut, chopped dates, dried cranberries, raisens, etc. to taste
1 c. canola oil
1 c. molasses
1 c. honey
1 c. maple syrup
3 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large roasting pan combine oatmeal, wheat germ, oat bran, wheat bran, cinnamon and salt. Mix in nuts. Then stir in oil, honey, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla. Bake 30 min. stirring every ten minutes so everything cooks evenly. Add dried fruit after removing from oven.
Yummy with everything from yogurt to plain milk. Mix in pancakes or serve on ice cream.
Cory & Sarah – Thank you for knowing that I am more than my awkward intense probing questions and for loving and caring for my family and I in such a tender and consistent way. We are so grateful for each of you and feel so valued to be part of your Home Team.