Tonight I took a huge step into scary, yet familiar territory. It feels extremely vulnerable and awkward. It has been a long time since I have actively sought after community in this way. I suppose, after six months of living in a new city, I am trying to reach out and find a safe place to walk with others on their faith journey while diving into deep conversations surrounding grief, loss, codepency, boundaries and mending the soul. Stepping into this place of vulnerably feels nearly as scary as those who dared to find and step into the passage to The Upside Down to find their lost loved one in Stranger Things – only a little less science fiction and a little more horrifying.
Being human takes work – a lot of work. Acknowledging brokenness and a need for wholehearted living is part of the battle, while reaching out for a community to walk through the healing journey with takes an extra amount of guts. I am not trying to pat myself on the back as much as recognize how difficult it is to take another swing at life when it seems as though your team has turned against you and you have already struck out.
Tonight I sat uncomfortably in a pew listening to Ben talk about this gathering called Refuge at Imago Dei Community, and I wanted to dart.I knew exactly where the exit doors were just in case. If it were not for my girlfriend holding my arm, there is a good chance I would have walked out. I love the cultivation of community so much. At least the idea of community is something I am familiar with. Perhaps I have become more accustomed to people coming and going – as if my circle of relationships was more like a terminal than a village or tribe. I have been a part of the beginning and ending of community, and the exciting blossoming and death of relationships. I am good, for now, and the idea of something new scares the shit out of me, to be completely honest.
This last year I took a risk by moving away from my home town for a new job, and a fresh start. One of my clients phrased it well when she described her longing for her “tribe” to gather in her home and doing life together. This was while creating her family vision. I remember thinking how much I loved her use of the word, and the historical and beautiful depiction it holds.
There have been seasons in my life where I have felt a sense of belonging to a community, a tribe; and others where I have felt disconnected and alone. After each season, some shorter than others, would come and pass, I have become more reluctant to engage. Engaging in community requires the letting down of one’s guard – becoming vulnerable. Being vulnerable allows others to see all of you in your glory and not-so glorious state – you failings and shortcomings. Becoming vulnerable can feel as intimidating as holding a magnifying glass over your weaknesses, for others to see. Finding a new tribe can feel similar, which is most likely why I have been so reluctant.
But tonight, I believe, is different. Having walked through so much crud than ever before, I am willing to take another chance at the bat of finding my place in a community – post divorce and raw as ever. Is it possible I have found the workings of what could become a part of the making of my tribe? Can I find a place of safety to work through such places of pain and loss with a group of others? Is it worth the risk? With a pounding heart and sweaty palms, I say “yes” to the hope of new relationships and the possibility of finding my tribe. Yes to cultivating community when it would be so much easier in the moment to find a rhythm of work and life without the mess. Perhaps it is the mess which makes our lives more colorful and the struggle which makes us more creative. Maybe the more open and vulnerable we become the more of a safe place we create for others who are also impacted by the pains of life.
Tonight I stepped into a messy group of people reaching out with one hand and the other guarding my heart. Could there be life here? Could this be my tribe? Is it possible to find community once again? I will never know unless I try. Tonight I took a risk to find my tribe, and I am so terrifyingly glad I did.