Last Thursday I helped throw a party. A group of us went to a house off campus, gathered around a table, ate food together, told stories. And we laughed a lot. We laughed almost as much as we breathed because we were together, and we were celebrating. This is a group of five people, including myself. We’re the most different personalities. If someone randomly had put us together in a room, we probably wouldn’t have become friends. But there we were, last Thursday, sitting around a table together, feeling more like family than friends.
I’ve thought back to that night a lot this week, the way we served one another and the way we were present with one another. We’re four student leaders and one graduate student. We’ve worked together all year, and it’s fun to see how far we’ve come. At the beginning of the year, none of us really knew the others. We sat awkwardly in our meetings, trying to figure out how everyone else worked. I’ve loved the chance to help lead these people. It’s been fun to push them outside of their comfort zone for the sake of the group.
Want to make people feel funny? Tell them that you’re going to do something different. You’re going to put one person in a chair, and everyone else in the group must say at least one affirming thing to that person. Then just sit back and watch them squirm. It makes people feel uncomfortable to say the least, especially when they don’t know the people around them that well. It requires a level of vulnerability. It requires selflessness. And this group has been doing this since about the second month of school. You’re welcome, team. Last Thursday we took the time to affirm another member of the group. This time, instead of squirming in their seats, the group leaned forward, smiles spread across their faces. We could have affirmed that person all night long because each of us realizes the immense value of supporting one another. We loved each other well in those moments.
That night we celebrated in the middle of February. We didn’t celebrate a certain holiday or milestone. Instead, we celebrated how far we’d come. We celebrated the work that each of us was doing in our dorm and on campus. We celebrated the fact that we were a team. We celebrated one another, supported one another, encouraged one another. We celebrated the seemingly ordinary stuff. Because life is something worth celebrating, even the worst of weeks.
I want to be a part of a group of people who doesn’t wait for the big things of life to come along to celebrate. I want to be a part of a team who celebrates the everyday ordinary events. I want to be a part of a team who believes that life itself is worth celebrating, a team who doesn’t think it’s weird to throw a party in the dead of winter. I want to be a part of a team who celebrates in the midst of pain, the kind of team that helps you breathe, helps you walk another step when you don’t think you can carry on.
And this is the kind of team I get to be a part of. These are the kinds of friendships I try to cultivate. This is the kind of life I try to live. Because celebration shouldn’t just happen when the calendar reminds you of a holiday. Celebration should be a daily thing, a reminder that our lives are on purpose.