We’ve all heard the phrase “it takes a village” and mostly in relation to raising children. This week I have been reminded that the purpose of this village is not just serving our little ones, but it’s raising each other up, too. I am deeply grateful for the village I have, the friends with which I have been blessed — their wisdom, their prayers, the joy and laughter that allow us to shoulder the sorrows and burdens together.
This week alone I have been drawn deeper into relationships, challenged by those doing life side-by-side along with me. I have friends from all walks of life as part of my community and they all love me and support me in different ways. My village this week has included an evening as part of a book club, play dates with other young mothers and children, family time with my sister and mother, a coffee date with friends from my own childhood and I know that before the week concludes I will have had numerous other encounters with my community that I will be important.
This village is a two-way street — not only do I feel loved and supported, challenged and made to grow, but I offer of myself to those that venture to go there with me as well. I know that for any of these relationships to be worthwhile, they need to be authentic, and that can be hard. It’s hard to be vulnerable, to be honest with one another about the struggles we face in life. It’s hard to ask for help, or prayer, or to admit my imperfections. But I won’t be reaping the benefits of this beautiful community if I can’t do those things. As I learn how to go deeper I am allowing God into these relationships, and the beauty that He springs forth is a piece of His kingdom here on earth. I want to model authentic community for my kids, so they don’t settle for second best in friendships. I need to serve, and be served. I need to love, and be loved.
It’s a handful of women that I’m beginning to get to know better, deeper, over a cup of iced tea and a good book. Under the guise of literary conversations and comfort of well-loved characters, glimpses of heart and mind are easy to come by. One by one, life stories begin to unfold.
It’s the mothers who are in the trenches with me. The women who know the pain of daily living out the birthing of these tremendous beings; women who show the battle scars with pride like I do. The women who so generously share with me their hand-me-downs, their peanut butter, and their heartfelt opinions with strength and openness. Who else knows the joy?
It’s the family that I have been graced with that loves, and loves, and loves some more. The family I was born into, and the ones that I’ve chosen and have chosen me. Who else truly knows the ugly, all of it, and loves me so hard anyway? This is a piece of village that I couldn’t ever shake off, no matter how I tried.
It’s the people who have known me the longest. Dear friends who remind me where I come from. When I lose sight of who I am, it’s these friends who make it possible for me to remember it again. Friends who knew me before. Before whatever it was. These gals hold some secrets and stories that are best to stay hidden, and boy, aren’t I glad that someone holds them for me?
Sometimes it can be scary to be the one to step out first — to take the walk through the village and find that all the doors are shut, that everybody is busy with their own tasks. But deeper joy comes in sharing our tasks together. I’ve learned that all it takes is a knock on that door, and it is most often met with relief. No one wants to feel alone, and I am thankful this week for the joy that I have felt in knowing that I am not ever alone.