What is it about challenges that bind a group together? Have you ever noticed that?
I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week. As I write this, our church youth group is taking part in an annual mission trip/youth camp.
Several youth groups in our area are spending the hotter-than-the-sun days of this week all over our town. They’re ripping off roofs for new ones, giving elderly and disabled people access to the outside world through new wheelchair ramps, cheering up homes through fresh paint, and other repairs.
It’s fascinating to watch our group during these weeks. They don’t scatter as much during free time or meals. They gravitate toward one another naturally, even if they’re on each others’ last nerves.
And throughout the year they keep these common experiences alive. “Remember that cactus that grew through the roof?” Yep, they all remember. Together. Just like I remember stories from mission trips of yore. (I like getting to use that word whenever I can, don’t you?)
Challenges bind us together.
The other day I ran into a former coworker from my hospice days. Eight years spanned the time from our last meaty chat. But we–and several other comrades–had hunkered in the trenches in those times. As we talked it was like we’d seen each other yesterday. Nothing can break our experience together.
It’s as if these bonds are God’s bonus for surviving and thriving in difficulty.
So, what challenges are you going through today? Are others facing them head on with you? Then take heart! You’ll share those common badges of honor forever.
And it’ll be like no time has passed, even if the years carry you far away from each other.