How often do you get to work with folks that you know you instantly ‘belong’ with—a group that is so strikingly ‘comfortable’ you feel you can call them ‘family’?
Our Freedom Lounge team at this year’s Burning Man was just such a group of people for me. We spent over a week together, rubbing elbows in close quarters, sleeping in tents, cooking, eating, and serving together in a ‘testy’ environment of dust, heat, 24/7 blaring music.
We are from all over the USA—California, Utah, Washington, North Dakota, Minnesota, Tennessee, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. Most of us didn’t know each other as we planned throughout the year.
With a team of ‘strangers’ coming together, you organize, communicate, pray, and trust for the best for that week of close togetherness. I mean, how many people want to schedule a trip with people you don’t even know?
Our team was divinely orchestrated. From the very beginning of everyone’s arrival for the week, everyone delightedly and quickly gelled, getting to know each other, each finding their own niche as a team player bringing together individual ‘specialties’:
—A couple of folks brought their RV’s and opened their doors, fully sharing with everyone else despite the dirt factor. They treated each other with warm shampoos (an absolute luxury in a place with no running water), a nice spot to sit out of the rain, hot tea and coffee in the morning for everyone. I am a tent sleeper, and one gal actually took a thick mattress from her RV and slipped it under my sleeping bag, then ‘made my bed’ for me so I could sleep like a princess on the hard ground. One gal handpicked huckleberries, made a cobbler, and brought it to share with everyone. Another friend quietly paid for everyone’s meals before and after Burning Man.
—Everyone pitched in. No one had to say, “Come help.” Camp set up and tear down, meal preparation and cleanup, and everything in between—demonstrated everyone’s willing cooperation. Teamwork!
—Everyone’s unique abilities quickly fired up. One guy is a magician and has the gift of drawing a crowd . . . and then bringing folks into our circle. Several teammates give healing momma or daddy hugs that bring tears. Others have the ability to see into hearts, to speak truth to what hurts. One gal even sings that truth—in perfect pitch—and her songs even rhyme! Creativity, seer gifts, dance, song, art, music, and spiritual depth to boot.
We laughed a lot. A sense of humor makes everything go smoother. Some people really have the knack to help others lighten up. And sometimes things get so tense where a good belly laugh is the instant remedy.
A mature team that covers each other with honor and a watchfulness and an anticipation of each others’ needs—is a priceless, rare treat these days.
Also, folks back home paved the way by continually supporting us with their sacrificial offering of funds, time, and many, many prayers. They were there with us, too, on the playa.
A young man said ‘he was pulled’ into our camp early on in the week and he kept coming back to hang out and eat with us. We asked him later what he thought of our group. He said he ‘liked our energy’, and that that we were a bunch of unselfish people. He had noticed our love for each other and the way we pulled together as a team, in order to make a difference, unlike many of the other camps out there. He felt safe and accepted in our midst.
I returned home from our team experience at Burning Man feeling stretched and sharpened in my own abilities, lovingly in awe of the special folks I got to serve with, and so very grateful for the common bond of Spirit we share that brings peace and unity and teamwork in such a tangible way.
Who’s Got Your Back? Teamwork at Burning Man