The Last of the Debts: a community story


Isaiah turned two on Wednesday.

And this morning, I paid the last of our medical bills from the day he was born.

Two years of $100 this month, only $30 the next.

For being in labor less than five hours, for giving birth about forty minutes after we arrived at the hospital, there was still a lingering attachment to that day, money to pay for the gift of a second boy.

The other day, Eliot spoke to us about his Fayetteville family.

We asked who exactly he meant, because we have no flesh and blood relatives there.

“Hannah,” he said.

“Jeff,” he said.

“Nora,” he whispered.

And then we understood.

His family is our flesh and blood, his Meemaw and Papa, his Marmee and Grandpa and all his cousins.

But his family is all the people who poured in and out of our Arkansas home, all the people we spent our days with, all those people who fell into community alongside us.

They were the people who brought us an envelope full of money, delivered by our dear friend Darryl.

I still have that envelope.

We used that money to pay the first round of hospital bills. It was the Kingdom in people loving people.

And when the Kingdom is displayed like that, friends become family to your toddlers, even after traveling hundreds of miles away to a new home, even a year later.

Isaiah is this beautifully thriving sports enthusiast of a boy, and he’s always known the love of people. He’s always known community, and so he’s always known Kingdom.

If we can learn to let go of our fear of community, our fear of knowing secrets and walking dark and light places with each other, learning to heal together, maybe then we can find that the walls of our hearts disintegrate, and we learn to give.

We learn Kingdom love.

And there, we find hospital bills paid.

We find meals made and flowers sent and we find the quiet.

We find celebration and mourning, but never alone.

And we say Hallelujah, whatever comes, because community carries me.

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