For most of my career, I was part of a small office. We were an odd assortment of individuals, to say the least. When we did hire someone new, they would quickly integrate into the work, but not so much the team. They were outsiders … the new kid in the neighborhood who wanted to fit in, but didn’t.
And then it would happen …. the Government would release a solicitation for bids. Our survival depended on preparing and submitting a winning bid in 30 days. At first there would be orderly meetings. By week three, order lost its composure. One by one, each member of the office would fall.
Engineers would face the terrifying challenge of operating the copy machine. Managers would stand in front of the coffee maker for hours begging it to have mercy on their tired souls. Small children slept under desks near the feet of their single moms. The new guy forgot about his PhD from MIT.
On that 29th day, it was of no value. He brought coffee to the secretary, who gave him lessons in operating the binding machine. They both knew that one wrong pull of the handle would spill blood across the pages of the bid – ending our careers.
On the 30th day, it was over. We were too exhausted to cheer; too noxious to hug. In that moment of victory, however, the team stood together. We were one. The new guy, his face dark with whiskers and clothes spotted with Wite-Out®, was now family. The flood in the coffee room, the dents in the copier, and the tears on the binding room floor would be stories we recalled for decades.
Today, I will be at home having brunch with 4 members of that office. We have 40 years of stories – which we have told a thousand times, but we will tell them again and laugh as if they were new. It’s what families do.
For those of you who have been on mission trips, or served on Serve Days, you’ll get it. No matter how many Sunday’s you come to church, no matter how fervently you worship, the only path to true fellowship is to get dirty. The dirt will wash away, but the new found richness of fellowship will last a lifetime.
Jo Svensson © 2016