Recently, I watched a family walk towards the door of a drug testing facility. Mom, as mom’s often do, was leading the charge while dad and son were reluctantly following along, up the slight rise of the sidewalk. I could just imagine the van ride to this office, not a word spoken but sighs and silent anger probably filled the air. I’ve not gone through a ride like this, but plenty of friends have and by the time they enter the car their words are exhausted, their emotions drained and their pride whipped.
You know no-one in this family wanted to be taking this intolerably long walk up a cement path. You know all of them had hopes for what the results would reveal. You also know that one person had to say “We are getting help.” One person had to say “Yes, we have to have help here.” and at least one person was crying during that conversation. It was all evident in their posture and the way dad and son, who I suppose was 15 or 16, kept back about ten paces. Mom kept looking over her shoulder and, as only a mom can do, screaming “Get yourselves in gear.” without a sound.
This is when I saw the most beautiful act of teamwork, the one I thought I should share with you. Mom was clearly the coach here- she had a plan- she planned the plays- she was calling the shots. As she turned forward, ready to bolt through the door whether they were with her or not, dad simply reached over, patted his sonon the shoulder, leaving his arm across his back for the slightest moment. With the pat the son looked at dad who said, as only a dad can say “We’re in this together.” silently. The son blinked an apology, with a lowering of his head.
I felt like an intruder while waiting for the light to change so I could cross the street, and yet I was glad I was there. I wanted to call out “It will be okay.” Because clearly, and above all else, they were in this together and when you are in it together it is always okay. At least that is what I hope now as I sit at my desk, comfortable in a world never tainted with drug tests. I want that family to have hope, to have joy and always, always to be a team with someone playing coach, someone making the big play and someone patting that player on the back.
Teamwork is a beautiful thing.