ON HAVING A TRIBE
As an adult, it is easy to say that being a part of a military family afforded me many personal qualities that I maybe wouldn’t have learned otherwise – like adaptability, resiliency, and the ability to compartmentalize my feelings. Most of these skills came from the lifestyle of having to pack up all of our belongings every three years and move. Over and over we did this - moving from Germany, to Louisiana, to Oklahoma, to Texas, to Florida and then fourteen years ago we landed in Colorado. Finally, my mother retired and this great state became my home.
Ultimately, the greatest thing I learned was that I didn’t really know anything about what home meant. And not just the physical space of a home- with four walls, a door, and windows to peer from - but the home we make in others’ hearts and the space they take up in our own.
When it came to relationships, I was a bit of a traveling salesman. My product was myself and the hustle was in creating a space for me to belong. Even as Colorado became my permanent residence, I continued to move from friend to friend, group to group, and even identity to identity - all to belong, to be a part of something, to have some sort of tribe.
I think the real breakthrough moment came when I tried a mommy group for the first time after having my son. Although each of these women were in similar seasons as me, I had nothing else in common with them. I left these groups feeling disconnected and lonely.
The common thread between this group and the rest of the various groups I failed at connecting with over the years- are that the attempts at relationship have all been formed under some sort of season, shared hobby, or label. For some reason, society has confined us to the particular stage we are at - not allowing us to differentiate with others.
We have become so good at only looking at specifics as qualifiers for a relationship - kind of like a personal ad... White, Non-Smoker, Mother, Wife, Part-Time Worker, Coffee Lover.
And in the process, we have loss sight of the real meaning of community.
Community was never meant to be spliced and diced into various parts where we are each clumped into a category. Just like you, I am made of up so many different things - and not one season, or label, or current function can describe who I am.
Community is best done in circles. Not rows. Or even through check boxes.
When I imagine Jesus with the masses - I see him in the center of a group with their faces and feet centered in on Him. He didn't divide them into the broken, the sinner, the leper, or the adulterer. He welcomed them all.
He welcomes you and me - wherever we stand in our lives. Whatever season we are in.
And that is what having a tribe looks like. That is what being at home means.