Probably a bad picture of a red Honda Civic parked in a cinderblock parking stall.
You know what I see?
The first starts with my car. The front tires got misaligned at some point between the Gorge in central Washington and the Bay Area when I went up at the beginning of September. I had to wait until my first paycheck before I could do anything about it. So I found a place that would do it if I could leave my car for a few days.
Leave my car for a few days? When I drive 70 miles round-trip to and from work? That seemed crazy.
But a solution appeared in the form of a 1996 red Honda Civic. In my church we are in small groups called Missional Communities, and we try and live life together in a transparent and real way. So I mentioned that I was worried about my car, and as it turns out, someone had a third car that was gathering dust that they offered to me for as long as I needed it.
So I'm driving a red Honda Civic that is 10 years older than MY red Honda Civic because community.
Continuing the car story requires adding some people. I got a call during first period saying that instead of the $75 they quoted me, the service they recommended would be $1250. As I was on the phone with them (with 30 freshmen listening in), I missed a call from my power company saying that the last few payments on my automatic debit hadn't gone through and they were going to shut off my power at 5 PM today.
On top of all of that, I have had two migraine days in a row. Today's migraine was brutal.
So I made it through three periods and lunch, and decided that I needed to leave after Leadership. I found a colleague who would cover for me (because community) and started getting stuff ready so I could walk out the door after 4th period.
Then I got a call over the loudspeaker to come to the cafeteria.
I walked in to find my entire leadership class with balloons, streamers, and the sign and presents pictured above. After a group hug, we all went back to class to make puppets. Quietly. With no lights. And sunglasses.
They didn't know what a crappy day I had been having. They knew that it was National Day of the Teacher, and decided that they wanted to do something special for me. So they made gluten free desserts, some crocheted magnets, and a two minute video with all the things they liked about me...that I don't treat them like kids, that I give them responsibility, that I have a sense of humour, that I'm flexible, etc.
They also told me that they had gotten copies of Final Cut Pro so they could help me edit the weekly Ninja News videos (I'm generally up until 10:30 on Tuesday nights doing that. So this is a HUGE FREAKING DEAL and is probably the best of all the presents).
They planned that without me knowing anything about it. And they did it because community.
The story I told here doesn't even include some of the people who made today less sucky - my parents helped with some of the phone calls and financial stuff and my PLN and CoLab partner were on hand for emotional support.
Speaking of CoLab Partners, Andrew is part of our class MessageMe group for Leadership. After I sent him a picture of what they had done, he sent them this message.
But I do, and Andrew does, and that's enough.
And it reminds me how thankful I am for ALL of my communities - my PLN, my missional community, my family, my CoLab partner, and my students.
They are the reason I could drive to school this morning. They are the reason that a crushing migraine feels less crushing. They are the reason that my power is still on.
Community, especially authentic community is tough. But it's so, so worth it.