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Another chair story for you…don’t think Steve and I expected to have a theme. But the Spirit moves, so….

Yesterday, I lugged a chair from my sunroom into the car, drove to work, and then put the chair into the waiting car of an acquaintance. But I wasn’t selling the chair. No, this is a very special chair–and it wasn’t mine to begin with.

Here’s how I ended up with the chair. For a moment. One of my friends was diagnosed several years ago with breast cancer, so she bought herself the chair. It’s one of those very fancy, very comfy low-gravity deals, so if you’re undergoing chemo or recovering from major surgery (especially in the all-important core area), it allows you to rest (even sleep in it comfortably) and as importantly, get out of it easily, without straining muscles. When my friend finished her own treatment, she decided the chair needed to go and visit others who might have need of it, but who might not have the means to purchase such an expensive piece of furniture. And that’s how I come in–I was one in the chain of people who got to have the chair as I recovered from a hysterectomy this past summer. And then, my friend alerted me that another woman was going to have need of the chair, so off it went through the snowy parking lot on its next adventure. And I sent it along with my fond good wishes for its healing powers in another home.

I tell you all of this because moving the chair made the think about a few things related to our special series of blogs this week:

1) we know this, but it bears repeating: community is so critical to thriving. Whether it was a meal delivered, a special coffee drink purchased, a ride given, an errand run–or a chair loaned–each act this summer assisted so much in my recovery.

2) but each thing was unique to the person giving it and gave insight into their thoughtfulness. Few would think about the loan of expensive furniture, but gosh, was it a help. But even with the more “expected” things, not a one was the same. I never ate the same meal twice.

In like manner, I’ve been delighted to receive the gifts my colleagues here on The Twelve bring every day. We have so many differences: different perspectives, different life experiences, different styles, different interests and concerns. But we wouldn’t be a community without each one–and we certainly never bring the same meal twice. You may prefer some of our meals to others, but you’ve got to admit, we’re pretty creative chefs!

My friend’s investment in that chair was a big one. But that investment is one that paid off for her–and so many of her friends.
None of the writers on The Twelve get paid–we feel like it is an investment, too. But there are costs to maintaining our online infrastructure, so I’d invite you to think about joining us in supporting a place where we’re hoping to invest in bringing faith to the every table of discussion–and every chair, too.

Click on the box above to donate, or use the blue “Donate” box in the upper right-hand corner. It is there on the website every day.
Checks may be sent to Reformed Journal, PO Box 441130 #94102, Detroit, MI 48244-1130.

Jennifer L. Holberg

I’ve taught English at Calvin College since 1998–where I get to read books and talk about them for a living. What could be better? Along with my wonderful colleague, Jane Zwart, I am the co-director of the Calvin Center for Faith and Writing, which is the home of the Festival of Faith and Writing as well as a number of other exciting endeavors. Given my interest in teaching, I’m the founding co-editor of the Duke University Press journal Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition and Culture (and yes, I realize that that is a very long subtitle). I also do various administrative things across campus. As an Army brat, I’ve never lived anywhere as long as I’ve now lived in Grand Rapids. I count myself rich in friends and family. I enjoy kayaking and hiking. I collect cookbooks (and also like to cook), listen to all kinds of music, and watch all manner of movies and tv shows. I love George Eliot, Jane Austen, Marilynne Robinson, Dante, E.M. Delafield, Tennyson, Hopkins, and Charlotte Bronte (among others). And I have a bumper sticker on my car that says: “I’d rather be reading Flannery O’Connor.” Which is true.

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