I Went to the Wilderness, I Squat-Pottied in Idyllic Locations, I Didn’t Check the Internets for a Week, and Whovians Hijacked This Blog

Oct 7 2014

IMG_0641APPARENTLY — *ahem* — there was a teeny, tiny, little hijacking of this blog whilst I was away, kayaking down the idyllic Green River for days and days, taking in stunning vistas, squat-pottying in a delightful, shared metal poop box called a groover which is not unlike a desert-powered slow cooker for collected feces, and blissfully not monitoring the nefarious blog coup underway. 

I hold Greg responsible. 

And you Whovians for encouraging him.

Yes. Greg and you myriad Whovians are clearly at fault for the blog coup.

I could not stop laughing this morning from my hotel room in Salt Lake City as I read through your dismay and disgust at my lack of Whovian follow-through.

Also, you’re all very awesome and I love you very much, even though you willfully aired my dirty Whovian laundry and, in my absence, signed me up for remedial Whovian indoctrination. Remedial InDoctorination, as the case may be. 

I admit, I’m a Doctor Who tease, leading Greg on by watching a couple of episodes and then ditching him to read much more urgent, but definitely quality vampire / werewolf literature in the evenings, ensconced in bed, head on pillow, comforter pulled to my chin, actively shunning his desperate and occasionally pathetic Whovian pleading.

As for Greg’s comparison between Outlander and Doctor Who, while admittedly brilliant, I have just one thing to say:

JAMIE.

It’s just… Outlander has Jamie, and Doctor Who doesn’t, and if you’ve read more than 30% of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, I know you know what I know. YOU KNOW WHAT I KNOW, you know? I mean, I haven’t watched Outlander episodes 7 or 8 yet… the episodes for which I’ve been waiting with breathless anticipation… but I remain confident I have placed my faith in the correct, hot, fictional character.  

Unfortunately, what I hear you saying about the Doctor is that you know what I don’t know, and that I should know what you know, and that, if I wasn’t quite so stubborn, I’d already know what you know, and that, for the sake of my marriage and all that is right and good in the universe, I ought to trust what you know ’til I know it, too.

In conclusion, I hate to admit when I’ve lost, but I’ve lost.

I’ll give the Doctor another try.

Wish Greg luck.

………

P.S. Greg was right to talk to you. He knows I will do things for you that I won’t do for him. Although I will also do certain things for Greg that I won’t do for you, so I feel like that’s fair. 

P.P.S. I’ll tell you more about the Green River in the future, but if you’re curious in the meantime about the details of what we did, you can follow my friend and trip leader John’s blog, Just Finding Our Way. So far, he’s posted about Packing and Day Zero. He’ll post Days 1-12 soon. My dad and I join the trip on Day 6 at Mineral Bottom.

P.P.P.S. My tent last week was Tardis blue.

Profile photo of Greg by Greg

My Wife Won’t Watch Doctor Who: PLEASE HELP

Sep 30 2014

Greg here, while Beth is away this week.  I don’t think I’ll make the same mistake a made a few years ago.

I hadn’t planned to hijack Beth’s blog, no matter what she said at the end of her previous post, but, thanks to your comments, I’ve realized I need your help.

Beth writes about our family, openly, honestly, and transparently, and she writes about the importance of community and finding the Elusive Village. Now it’s my turn to tell the truth about what happens in our house and to ask for help from you, Beth’s Village. I think you can see that hijacking Beth’s blog is the only conscionable course of action.

Beth almost shared one of the darker secrets of our marriage in her last post when she alluded to her lack of interest in The Doctor. She didn’t come right out and say it, though, so I will.

Beth doesn’t watch Doctor Who.

Doctor_Who_logo_2012_background

This from the woman I love, who eagerly binge watched Battlestar Glactica with me and loves anything Joss Whedon touches. But when she tried two episodes of the most recent series with me, it just didn’t resonate. Even starting with Mat Smith as the Doctor meeting Amelia Pond! She didn’t connect. They had me at fish custard, but not her.

I’m at a loss to convey to her the depth of the pathos, triumph, and tragedy in each new story arc. The whole of space and time, with love lost, found, and lost again, across four dimensions. Death, rebirth, the end of everything, and the rediscovery of hope.

I mean really.  We’re 6 episodes in to the first season of Outlander.

outlander_poster

I’ve helped with the DVR, alerted her to new episodes, and held her hand through the drama, without once suggesting we switch over to football (of any variety, round or oblong).

Perhaps it would help to relate it to something closer to her experience.

Story Element Outlander Doctor Who
time travel X X
political intrigue X X
dangerous secrets X X
imminent death X X
lost love X X
new love tinged with guilt/grief over lost love X X
moral dilemas over changing history X X
mysterious use of futuristic science X X
Scottish accents X 12th Doctor
swordplay X X
nightmares in the shadows   X
terrifying statues of angels   X
bigger on the inside (no, cheesy references to Jamie’s heart don’t count) X

 

I think Beth needs to give the Doctor another chance. We could have something really special together.

PLEASE HELP me compile a list of reasons for Beth’s return.
Why should Beth learn to love Doctor Who?

Thanks, Mom

Sep 29 2014

We parents are a melancholy bunch from time to time. No, no; it’s OK, don’t worry. This isn’t criticism. It’s just an observation. We parents are a melancholy bunch from time to time. A little woe-is-me. A tiny bit pessimistic. A wee bit Eeyore-esque. Ho hum, we say to ourselves, we work and we work and we toil away, and who thanks us? No one. No one thanks us.

And it’s true. 

Almost always.

No one thanks us.

Except occasionally when they do, but mostly no one thanks us, and no one will thank us for the menial tasks we do every day.

No one thanks us, and no one will thank us for the many life skills we teach our children, and we’re probably right about that Not Gonna Be Thanked thing… but we might be wrong, and therein lies our hope.

My dad and I left on a trip today. It’s an annual, week-long canoe trip for my dad, one he’s invited me to attend year after year. Year after year, I’ve said the same thing, which is, “What part of FIVE KIDS do you not understand, man?” But this year my kids are a little older. And this year my kids can almost always wipe themselves. And this year my anxiety medication mostly works. And this year, Greg said, “Go.” So this year, I’m going.

RoadTrip

Oregon

UtahAs we raced down the highways yesterday, winding our way through Oregon and then Idaho and Utah, watching wide open spaces blow by and stopping at public restroom after gas station after rest area, I thought two things:

  1. My bladder just isn’t what it once was. Then, a reservoir as vast as the vistas stretching endlessly before us. Now, a shriveled ghost of its former glory.
  2. I really should thank my mama for teaching me to squat-pee.

So, to bring hope to the next generation and prove that we may, after all, someday be thanked, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my mom for teaching me to squat-pee so I never have to touch a public potty with my bare ass. 

While I’m at it, I’d also like to thank her for teaching me to wipe good and that picking my nose and eating it will give me pin worms and for trapping me in the bathroom with a box of Tampax and the little instruction sheet until I learned to use a tampon so I could go on that one river raft trip in middle school. Because you know what? I’m about to spend a week on a river, and I’m going to squat-pee and wipe good and not eat my boogers and I’m not even a little bit worried about whether or not I’ll need to use tampons. MOM FOR THE WIN!

Someday your kid might thank you for teaching her to squat-pee in public restrooms, too. Because LIFE SKILL. There is HOPE, is what I’m saying. Hope for the future, parents. Keep up the good work. (And thank your mommy.)

………

P.S. I’ll be away from the blog from September 30-October 7 since the Green River in Canyonlands National Park has no internet. This means several things:

  1. In my absence, Greg is taking over. I THINK this means he’ll pin a different post from the archives to the top of the blog every day so that, if you check back here, you’ll have new daily reading material. HOWEVER, it may mean he hijacks the blog to discuss Doctor Who. I can’t be held responsible for Greg’s need to discuss the Doctor, is my point.
  2. Greg needs your help picking posts from the archives. I’d really love for these to be reader favorites, so, if you have a favorite 5Kids blog post, please share it (a description or a link is fine) with an explanation why. Greg will share your explanation when he shares the link on Facebook.
  3. Speaking of Facebook, if I AM able to communicate at all, it’ll be (probably useless tidbits like this entire post) via Facebook. You can join our Facebook community here.

P.P.S. If you signed up for a ComeUnity group (see: Are You Looking for the Elusive Village?) and you haven’t heard back from me, don’t worry! YOU WILL. I may take me a week, what with the river and all, but YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN. 

It’s Keepin’ It Real Day Today

Sep 26 2014

I just tripped over shoes in my kitchen, and I swore out loud because OH MY WORD, WHO KEEPS LEAVING THEIR SHOES ALL OVER THIS HOUSE?

FYI, it was me.

My shoes.

On the kitchen floor.

So that was rad.

….

Yesterday was a cry-fest before school. NOT ME that time, so there’s that. But it was a cry-fest for a good reason. I am crying for a GOOD REASON, MOM! he said, with Indignant Face and a stomp for good measure. He’s normally an easy one, this 2nd grade kid of mine. I mean, he’s an easy one relatively speaking because he’s still made out of Human and made out of Kid, so not easy-easy, you know. But he’s normally an easier one, so I was confused at his utter meltdown… over a sweatshirt. 

In his defense, the oceans of tears were over an absent sweatshirt, which he’d accidentally left in our church gym the night before. He wanted me to drop everything — and, by everything, I mean my regularly scheduled cup of celebratory I Got the Children to School Semi-On-Time Again! GO, ME! coffee, and my alarm reminding me to take my medication, and my plans to find and don underwear because jeans chafe, man – drive to the church gym, find the sweatshirt, drive to the school and, sans panties, bra and socks, and drop off said sweatshirt so that he might have the sweatshirt he neeeeeeeeds.

Well.

WELL.

I said no.

I said no because NATURAL CONSEQUENCES, right? And LEARNING OPPORTUNITY!

And also coffee and undies.

OK, mostly it was just because of the coffee and undies, because, I’ll be honest, I ADORE Natural Consequences when they match what I prefer to do or not to do, but most of the time I think I’d rather have my kids learn that life is a mixture of natural consequences and people who will give you a hand when you screw something up. We’re all going to suck from time to time, after all, and, since I don’t really like this trend that has us teaching our kids that their screw-ups should leave them picking up the pieces alone, I ditched consistency in favor of teaching both responsibility and compassion which I think is the much more complicated, difficult lesson to teach and also the better life skill. 

Except when I need coffee and panties. 

Then, it’s NATURAL CONSEQUENCES, kid. 

Commence more crying, because MOOOooooOOOOOM! 

Now, just to be clear, this kid o’ mine has a twin brother. A twin brother who has a nearly identical sweatshirt. A twin brother who has a nearly identical sweatshirt and offered to let him wear it because he’s kind and thoughtful and agreed with me on oh my gosh, STOP CRYING.

But was the fraternal twin sweatshirt acceptable?

No.

No, of course not.

But I remainded strong! I said I was very sorry for him. I hugged him. And I said I’d pick up the sweatshirt last night so he’d have it to wear again this morning.

He cried some more and went to school.

And asked me for his sweatshirt this morning.

The one I OF COURSE forgot to pick up last night. 

Gaaaaaahhh!

Oh, the betrayal.

And the wailing!

And the gnashing of teeth!

Except this time it was on me. ‘Cause I did not do what I said I’d do.

And this time *I* had to deal with the natural consequences. :/ 

Which is why I showed up in the school office this morning. After school started. Kid’s grubby sweatshirt in hand. In my jeans and t-shirt and tennis shoes. Sans mascara. Sans groomed hair. Sans coffee. Sans all the things that hold the other things in place.

Stupid natural consequences.

….

And my house looks like this.

House2

Practically spotless! PRISTINE! With shiny floors! You know… in the front room where no one lives.

And also like this.

House1

Which is my bathroom.

And like this.

House5

Which is where I work every day.

Just thought you’d want to know. 

Keepin’ it real,
Signature

 

 

P.S. Your turn. What’ve you got for Keepin’ It Real Day today?

Sibling Rivalry: You’re So Cute, I Will Eat You Up. (No, Seriously; I Will Consume Your Flesh.)

Sep 25 2014

My children were giving each other crap the other day. And today. And All of the Days. Just constant crap-giving everywhere

This one is giving that one crap by blowing over his carefully constructed card house.

That one is giving the other one crap by iiiiiinching his finger over the Boundary Line on the couch.

The other one is giving someone else crap by wiggling his butt in her face; twerking, sibling style, which, trust me, is the MOST IRRITATING kind of twerking out there, and that’s saying something, man. 

And another one is refusing to respond to any words at all spoken by a sibling, siblings being too inferior to deign to acknowledge, of course, which results in the Screaming and the Crying and the “I’M JUST TRYING TO ASK YOU IF I CAN HAVE A TURN PICKING A SHOW!” and “MooooOOOOOOOOM!”

“YOU!” I say, “YOU stop blowing over his card house. Geez! And YOU; YOU KEEP YOUR BODY TO YOURSELF.” I say that one a lot. “YOU? Seriously. Cool it with the butt, man. COOL IT. And YOU. ANSWER HIS QUESTION. Just GIVE HIM AN ANSWER. OH MY GOSH, YOU GUYS. OH. MY. GOSH.”

And then I say, “When will you stop giving each other crap? WHEN?” 

And they look at me like I’M the one who’s insane. Like I’M the one losing my ever-loving poo. And then the very youngest looks at me and says, “Ummmm… I hate to break it to you, Mom, but prob’ly never. We are just really good at giving crap, Mom. And you always say to Live Into What We’re Good At! and Be Ourselves!, so…” and then he shrugs and adds in the You Brought This On Yourself face. MY face! The one *I* perfected! I kid you not. He delivers THAT speech and then the Gee, I’d Love to Help You, But There’s Not a Thing I Can Do face.

The PUNK.

The little, awesome, crap-giving PUNK.

So, powerless as usual, I sigh the sigh I learned from my Marine father – the sigh that begins with the giant intake of breath and ends with the prolonged glottal exhale for maximum drama – and I take refuge in my computer. 

Where my brother begins a chat.

 
The Brother:
You there?
I want something from you. 
 
 
You there?
 
Yo!
 
 
Oh come on! I just lit poop on fire!
 
Nothing?!?
 
How about now?
 
 
???
 
That was peace over the whole earth!
 
Pretty much the opposite of poop on fire.
 
COME ON… TALK TO ME…
 
Me: 
GEEZ. What do you want?
 
The Brother: 
Couple hours of one-on-one time with each of your favorite nephews?
 
Me:
SHOOT. I like those guys. I was hoping for something I didn’t want to do. But FINE. When?
 
The Brother: 
9:20 – 10:50
 
Me:
 Do I get to pick which day and morning or night?
‘Cause I pick night.
I mean, I LIKE the nephews, but… they’re, like, totally asleep at 9:20pm,
and then I can make Greg put OUR kids to bed because I’m helping YOU.
I’m being a HELPER. What’s Greg gonna say?? So… nighttime, yes??
 
The Brother: 
No.
 
Me: 
 
The Brother:
My emoji is laughing at your sad emoji.
 
Me: 
I’m not sure how I feel about the squishy Google Chat emojis. They look like gumdrops.
 
The Brother: 
Anthropomorphic candy… you’re right, it’s creepy.
 
Me:
And it makes me hungry.
 
The Brother 
“You’re so cute, I’ll eat you up! (No, seriously. I will consume your flesh.)”
 
Me:
I feel like we should apologize to the emoji now.
 
The Brother: 
Not me… eat first, apologize later.
So you’re right, I gave no context to the times.
Tomorrow  morning with the nephews.
 
Me:

 
Hang on – checking calendar.
 
Calendar says yes.
 
Effing calendar.
 
The Brother:
And.. what does Beth say??
(Some friend the calendar is, won’t lie for you when you need it to…)
 
Me: 
Beth is a slave to the calendar.
Beth has no rights of her own.
This is modern-day America, man.
What Beth wants means nothing. NOTHING.
The Calendar RULES ALL.
(Beth likes your kids. Beth is fine with it.)
 
The Brother:
Excellent. Remind me to shift any flattery/bribe attempts directly to the calendar.
 
Me:
Good idea. The calendar likes fancy cheese and gin and tonics. Just, you know, F Your I.
 

The Brother:
Noted. 
And thanks.
 
Me:
You’re welcome.
Love you.
Good night.
 
The Brother:
Love you.
Good night.
 
 

All of which goes to show my youngest was right.

The crap-giving will probaby never end. 

If we’re really, really lucky.

……….

P.S. I think this is the very best definition of sibling rivalry EVER: 

You’re so cute, I’ll eat you up!
(No, seriously; I will consume your flesh.) 

I want to make little toddler shirts that say that instead of those Big Brother or Big Sister shirts. So much more accurate for the kid with a new little sister or brother. SO much more.

Are You Looking for the Elusive Village? WANT AD: VILLAGERS NEEDED

Sep 23 2014

If you’re lonely, this is for you.

If you’ve wandered and searched and hoped for your Tribe, this is for you.

If you’ve moved and left your Tribe behind, this is for you.

If your Tribe moved and left you behind, this is for you.

If you’ve wandered the Jungle and called and called, hoping for an answer, this is for you.

If you’ve found your Village and want to welcome the wanderers – if you’ve found your Tribe and will let more in – this is for you.

And if you keep asking where that damn, elusive Village is, anyway, this is for you. 

WANT AD:
VILLAGERS NEEDED.
Friends needed.
YOU are needed.

I’m talking I.R.L. here, folks; In Real Life. Not in some kind of ethereal way, although you’re definitely needed in the cosmos and on the world wide webs, too. Right now, though, I’m talking about making Friends in the Flesh. People you can hug without the {{{curly brackets}}}. People you can hug with your ARMS. People who are hoping for a Tribe, too. 

ID-10065346Because as much as you long for community and connection, someone is longing for your friendship, too. I know it’s true, because I hear from dozens of you every day. Hundreds per month. We NEED each other. Online – this space and others – is an excellent, important start, but for many of us, it’s not enough.

We’ve talked here over the last few days and weeks and months about connection. Human connection. What it means to be authentically ourselves. And to share pieces of our hearts. And what it’s like to need a friend. An IRL friend. In Real Life. 

And I will tell you – I think about you every day. Every single day. Your stories run through my mind and rifle through my heart, and I ask myself over and over how I can help make connections. Because words on a page are my art, but YOU – your uniqueness, your value, your preciousness, your deep, abiding worth – YOU are my heart.

So we are going to try an experiment here. And it may go sideways or upside down; it’s hard to say. But we’re going to try a Human Connection Experiment.

Some of you have expressed over the past few days your wish for a “dating” site for friends. A place you can post a profile or a personals ad and call out online for In Real Life friends. A place to connect. And I believe sites like that are in the works! Coming to an internet near you!

The problem, of course, with the find-a-friend sites will be the profile. And the time to create the profile. And the monitoring of the profile. And the popularity contest inherent in looking at profiles and picking and choosing. And the questions – the ever-present questions: How authentic can I be, anyway? How messy? And will anyone see the magic in me? 

So I thought to myself, “It’s too bad we don’t have something like that here in this space. Because these people are already a RAGING MESS. Out loud! In our hearts. In our homes. And we LOVE it this way. This wild truth-telling. And we HONOR the mess in each other. Because we know it’s our path to the magic. To the magnificent. To the magic and magnificent, which are born not out of perfection, but from truth and terror and triumph and trying.”

And then I thought, “Why not, Beth? Why not at least TRY to connect these people you adore to each other? To set up, wherever possible, pockets of authentic friendship?” And I came up with lots of answers for why not: it’s logistically challenging; maybe no one really wants that; other people can do this better than me; there are forums for this kind of thing… and I’ll probably even set one up myself soon… a COMMUNITY FORUM… it’s better to just wait for a better forum, Beth. 

But I couldn’t come up with a GOOD reason why we shouldn’t try, because I’ll take logistically challenging if it means you get to meet a friend. 

So here’s what we’re going to do. IT’S EXPERIMENT TIME. We are going to use this space right here – this imperfect space that isn’t set up right for this AT ALL – to meet In Real Life Friends. 

I am going to write our profile.

And you – if you want a friend, if you need a Tribe, or if you’re willing to let people into your Village – are going to tell us if you want in. Instructions are below.

Here’s my part. Here’s our profile. This is who we are:

  • We are people who are imperfect.
  • We are people who are a mess.
  • We are people who are wild and wonderful and weird and wonky.
  • And we are people who are learning that we are enough and valuable and worthy as we already are.
  • We are people who understand that friends are made from humans; awful, awesome, horrible, heroic, endearing, irritating humans.
  • We are people who live in a mess and with the mess and through the mess, and we know that it’s knee-deep in the mess that we find the magic.
  • We are people who are weak.
  • We are people who are strong.
  • We are people who are weak and strong, sometimes all at once, and lost and found, which is where we discover grace.
  • We are people who rise above it all and put one step in front of the other and keep going in the middle of the madness.
  • We are people who can’t take one more step and sit, immovable, smack-dab in the middle of the mud.
  • We are people who cry at night and who need a Google Earth zoom-out button so we can see the other night-criers and know we’re not alone.
  • We are people who wave at each other in the dark and who hold hands while we wait for the dawn to break.
  • And we are people who need each other. Truly and deeply. Imperfectly and full of grace. We are people who need connection. And friends. And a Tribe like us.

So now it’s your turn.

Your part. 

Your chance to be brave and bold – if only for the minute it takes to make a comment, because bravery and boldness only happen a minute at a time, anyway – and raise your hand and say, “I want in.”

If you want to be part of this Experiment — this opportunity for connection and friendship, whether you’re looking for a friend because you don’t have one right now, or you’re eager to open your already established Tribe to new friends — please reply below in the comments section with three things:

  1. Your first name. (Last name is fine but not required.)
  2. Your email address. (As is normally required to leave a comment. NOTE: This will NOT be shared publicly, but WILL be shared via a private, group email with others from your region who sign up for this experiment. This is how I’ll put you into contact with each other.)
  3. Your location, like this: City, State/Province, Country. 

My comment would look like this:

comment

And that is all.

Over the next few days, I’ll collect your names and your regions. Broad regions, probably. Like states or provinces or small countries or large cities, because I won’t know how close, exactly, your towns are to each other. And then, on Saturday, I’ll start to email you as regional groups**. To say, “HEY! You’re all from Ohio!” Or “Hey! You’re both in Sydney!” 

I know this is weird. I know it requires a measure of trust. I know it’ll work out for some and not for others. But it’s worth a try, don’t you think? And it’s a worthy experiment, just like all of human connection. A worthy experiment.

I hope you’ll join me.

Love,
Beth

**P.S. Everyone will be placed in a group. Those of you who have others from your region will be placed by region. Those of you who don’t have others from your region will still receive an option to be part of an online, email-based group. I know that won’t work for everyone, and that’s fine, but I want to be sure everyone has an opportunity for some kind of contact. OK? OK. Now get on with commenting. Be brave, just for a minute, but also know I’m waving to you in the dark and holding your hand ’til the dawn arrives.

UPDATE: Some of you want to know if you can opt to JUST be email buddies and NOT have regional contacts. YES. Yes, if this is how you want to participate and connect, YES, ABSOLUTELY. To opt into an email group, please follow steps 1 and 2 above (name and email address) and simply write “email” as your comment, instead of your location. 

UPDATE #2: It is NOT too late to join. As I mentioned on the Book of Faces (aka, Facebook), I HAVE sent out groups as of today, Saturday, September 27. HOWEVER, it is never too late for more members of the Village. You can still leave your info below and I’ll add you to a group as soon as I can.

Old and Young Women Holding Hand photo credit to worradmu via freedigitalimages.net

5 Quick Questions About Connection

Sep 22 2014

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:

ID-100400665 Quick Questions about Personal Connection and Finding the Elusive Village

  1. When in life were you the loneliest?
  2. Do you have a Village? Have you found a Tribe?
  3. If so, who are they, and WHERE, EXACTLY – with GPS precision instructions, people! – did you find them?
  4. If you could give any comfort to our friends here who are lonely, what would you say?
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Yes.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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