"I like getting older, because everyone begins to have real stories to tell."
Wednesday night we were at a picnic in the park with some of our beloved peeps and some faces that were new to me. One gal was telling me the story of her name. Eliora. "God's Light is in Her."
I looked around the group and realized in a deep and moving way that every single person there had battled through a war story worth telling... most were right in the thick of another one.
Not to mention the fact that every single person at this picnic had wisdom and learning and skills to share. Sheesh! There was so much collected wisdom in that group, it would make you go cross-eyed! Military maps experts, professional musicians, mechanics, Bible scholars, artists, athletes, builders... good grief. And all of this from a very, very normal "hum drum" group of folks. Folks who would call themselves unremarkable. (Folks who are ridiculous and need to be told they're shockingly cool.)
When we stand on our own, the story can seem sadly simple. I'm just being honest! Unless I'm digging for the beauty, my life can look like just another over-educated, under-paid mom story. But, hot dang, when we come together!!!
Community is cool, dudes.
Community is the link that is sorely missing from our world today. Intentional, united, dig-into-your-uglies Community.
Why is parenting so traumatic? Because we try to do it alone until we figure out there's no such thing and find a mama tribe to cradle us through the good times and bad.
Why is marriage so dang difficult? Because we try to be everything to each other... and we can't. We just can't. We are not everything.
Why is loneliness an epidemic? Because you don't go to church, you dumby! (Real community goes waaay beyond church, but let's give credit where credit is due: here is a group of people that has been meeting together regularly for, say, 2000 years and counting? It's at least a good place to get your feet wet.) But more importantly... It's free. A building full of people ready to risk relationship and love and growth together... not to mention coffee, child care, kiddie arts and crafts, and live music WEEKLY... and it's fuuuuh-reeeee. Pssh! I don't care what you believe, I'd be getting in on some of that action for the coffee and childcare alone.
Why has career become so much more highly prized than doing regular life?
Why do we feel so pressured to be so perfect in an imperfect world?
Why is more stuff, bigger house, better clothes soooooo great? It's just stuff with a bigger price tag.
Dream with me here... could it be because we're missing a deep connection to real people? When we disconnect from people all we have left is.... Me. When Me runs out of energy, when Me pursues a job and fails, when Me doesn't have the things, when Me doesn't look the look... what then?
The only remedy for Me is Us.
Our story is beautiful and complex.
Our hands are always ready to help when the other can't.
Our dreams are always rising and falling in a symphony of hope.
Our connection means more than any self-promotion.
When we unite, it becomes clear that Me doesn't have to do it all, because that thing and that thing and that thing are someone else's wheelhouse. It's liberating.
My dearest Peeps.... if you do anything in the next five years, let it be to connect to community. It will radically impact your story. It's like a 1 step program to awesome.