“Clear!” I heard a loud voice yell on the street in front of our house.
“What in the world?” I thought. “Who could that be yelling and why is he yelling, ‘clear’?”
Sitting outside is almost an everyday occurrence for me if weather permits. Recently, we moved into the house where I grew up. As my parents transitioned into a retirement community, I have had the privilege of living in a home that has been nurturing to me and welcoming to all those who have stepped in the back door. My family knew no strangers. Yes, it was a back door kind of house. You know the kind I’m talking about, right? All guests enter and leave through the back door. The postman knows that’s where to deliver the packages. And every once in a blue moon when someone rings the front doorbell, you scamper trying to find the dead-bolt key and can’t remember the last time the front door was opened.
As you go out the back door you step into the carport, it’s a covered two car pull in that was always used as a carport when I was growing up. My husband and I have a most favorite past time. As I mentioned, when the weather permits we love to sit outside on the porch sharing a cup of coffee or glass of wine and conversation. In the recent homes we’ve lived in, we’ve had a covered porch or screened-in porch which offered these times of grilling and family, sharing love and nature with a bit of fresh air. So when we took ownership of this house where I’d grown up, the carport was our choice for outdoor seating. I threw down a rug, added porch furniture and a table for us to share a meal. To add a little ambiance, we encircled the ceiling with stringed lights to give it a glow in the dusk of the day. Although it still feels like a carport, that can’t keep us from sitting out there visiting or enjoying a meal. The enjoyment overcomes the awkwardness and how obvious it is that we’ve rigged a carport into a porch. I began calling it our “carporch”.
It was early one Sunday morning when I was having coffee in the carporch when I heard that voice yell from the street yell “Clear!” I turned around only to see the backside of a couple of cyclers speeding past our house. I wonder why he yelled? A few minutes later, the very same thing happened again! I heard a loud voice scream, “clear!” What in the world? Trying to settle back into my thoughts it happened yet again, causing me to arise from my comfortable place and walk out front. Right before me, I saw biker after biker ride by. Then they came in packs and droves, always yelling at each other, “clear!” It dawned on me that the biker up front was notifying the cyclers behind that the road was clear as they approached the sharp curve we live on. In other words, “Don’t slow down, keep the pace. The coast is clear.” I realized this was a team bike race and this made for such efficiency. At one point, someone even came walking up, pushing his bike with a flat tire. Someone on his team stopped to help him change the tire quickly, wanting to speed it up as the time would be based on the entire team’s finish. After asking some neighbors watching nearby, I found out that this was a huge race with hundreds of racers and would be lasting for hours. Watching for a long time, I was amazed at the effectiveness of the teamwork. The teams worked so much better together. They were there for one another in need, together. They helped each other when things went wrong, together. They cheered one another on, together. They warned each other of danger, together.
I’ve recently had the opportunity to work alongside others in groups doing purposeful work that God has given me. You’ve heard it said, “No man is an island.” I’m finding that no matter what your personality, no matter what your work, no matter your skill set or gifts, we all need one another. God created us for one other. Our design is such that coming together gives us the feeling of being part of something bigger. Being together gives support as we cheer one another on. Having others around us causes us to grow as they push us to be all that God has created us to be. Being in the company of others helps guard us from outside exposure to things that might hurt emotionally and spiritually.
Do you have a team? If not, find your people. Seek out those that are safe and like-minded. Create a community of people around God’s purposes in your life. Boots on the ground, arm and arm, we will be stronger together. Just as the bikers were better, more effective and more likely to win the race together, we need each other shouting, “Clear!” We need to hear others say, “I’m here for you”.
And if you ever drive by my house and see us sitting in the carporch, please stop in for a cup of coffee and conversation.
We need more togetherness.
How to find togetherness
Our word and theme for the year 2019 at Beacon People is “TOGETHERNESS”. Realizing the importance and value of community, it is our desire to bring people together around causes and callings, around kingdom building and purposeful projects, around ideas and work to make those ideas become reality. As we create opportunities for you, we are seeing all through the lens of being together first and foremost because we believe amazing things happen in the hub of togetherness. Check out what’s going on at Beacon People this spring. We would love to see you!
*If you live in cities outside of Birmingham we are always happy to share our ideas with you about how to create togetherness. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the conversation going.