It’s time for a new edition of 5 Quick Questions!
This is my opportunity to get to know you better, and it’s one of the best things we do here because it turns out you are very good at truth-telling, friends. To those of you who used the last few volumes to delurk, it’s wonderful to meet you! And to those of you who’ve been around a while, mucking about in this space and putting your feet on the furniture? You’re always rad. Thank you.
As you may know, 5 Quick Questions can be anything from the EVER IMPORTANT What Is Your Family Booger Rule? to the more serious (and my absolute favorite because you were so deeply honest) Questions About Faith.
Today, though, I want to ask you about Personal Connection because your responses to the story of Melanie’s 16th Birthday broke my heart wide open and made me feel humbled and sad and strong and weak because you so willingly gave us pieces of your hearts to hold. I treasure that gift. I do. And I ache with you. So many of us are lonely. And wounded. And have received the message that we’re not valuable or worthy of friendship. Which is a bullshit message, but still painful… and sometimes we believe it even though it’s not true.
I ended that story by saying Life Gets Better. And We Find Our Tribe After Too Much Searching. And We Discover We Are, After All, Deeply Worthy of Love, and Worthy of Celebration, and Worthy of People Who Show Up.
I believe every one of those things. To my bones.
But sometimes it takes too long, doesn’t it? And it’s too much work. And it’s too much of us showing up and putting ourselves out there and feeling hurt when our efforts aren’t returned the way we want them to be.
Several of you asked important questions after that story. Questions filled with longing, like, “But where and how do you gather a tribe? It can be so very hard,” and “Where is that damn Village, anyway? I’ve been lost in this jungle FOREVER
I wanted to answer you IMMEDIATELY with SOLUTIONS, because I’m a Fix It girl at heart, but I’ve lived long enough now to know there isn’t a quick fix to feeling lonely or feeling lost. It’s a process. A climb. A ladder with many rungs. A muddy path through a jungle. Or just Jungle and a machete to carve our own way.
The problem with Tribes is they aren’t static. Tribes are evolutionary. They ebb and flow as people come and go, emotionally and geographically, and we don’t usually know who’s going to stick around until they’ve stuck, you know? And sometimes the same people stick and unstick and stick again, because tribes are made out of humans, and humans, as we all know, are just awful. And awesome. Horrible. And heroic. Steady. And unstable. Which makes seeking the Village so very risky.
The good news is, we all come to the Village weary and wounded. And I know – that sounds like the bad news, but I swear it’s not. The good news is, we all come to the Village weary and wounded, which means there’s a tribe full of people who know how to lay down in the mud with us. How to look at the sky and just breathe for a while. How to offer a hand up when we’re ready to stand. How to let us heal slowly.
Which is why I’m coming to all of you today with 5 Quick Questions about Personal Connection. Because we are wiser together than I am alone, and this question of community needs all the wisdom we can muster, and our stories, too.
And so, without further ado, here are:
5 Quick Questions about Personal Connection and Finding the Elusive Village
- When in life were you the loneliest?
- Do you have a Village? Have you found a Tribe?
- If so, who are they, and WHERE, EXACTLY – with GPS precision instructions, people! – did you find them?
- If you could give any comfort to our friends here who are lonely, what would you say?
- If you could give any advice to our friends here on how to find the Village – how to seek out your tribe – what would you offer?
Here are my answers:
- You can find my answers here and here. Both times upon becoming a mama. And I was pretty lonely when Greg and I first got married, too. Change is hard on the heart. Go figure.
- Precisely, I’ve found my tribe in my family, my church, my town, and here online with you. My parents are excellent tribe builders. My brother, my cousins, my sister-in-law — all of us have done a huge amount of hard work to choose each other, over and over again. Also, my church – North Valley Friends Church – has had a huge impact on my tribe. Our little town in Newberg, Oregon, has been an amazing place to grow our family. And THIS SPACE HERE has changed my life immeasurably because you are the world’s best at letting me and each other be REAL.
- I would tell you that even though you’re lonely, you’re not alone. I would tell you there’s someone out there who needs you to be part of her tribe as much as you need her to be part of yours. I would tell you there are seasons of life that are hard. I would tell you there’s light, not just at the end of the tunnel, but along the way, and I would tell you there are people here to hold your hands in the dark until you can see the dawn coming.
- I know this song is about falling in love and wasn’t intended necessarily for friendship, but I love the song Try, by Pink. I think it speaks so beautifully to the risks, the reality and the richness of relationship.
Ever worry that it might be ruined
And does it make you wanna cry?
When you’re out there doing what you’re doing
Are you just getting by?
Tell me are you just getting by, by, by?
Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
OK – your turn. 5 Quick Questions, friends, because I only have a small piece of the puzzle, and we need your piece, too.
Open Hand With Glove image credit Ambro via freedigitalimages.net