Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Be there for your people.

While in Boise a couple weeks back, John's mom shared a deep lesson the past year had taught her.  The passing of her father and then her mother was quite a painful, and long process.  Through it I am sure she learned hundreds of valuable lessons to be shared, but the simple words she shared with us have stuck with both John and I.  Perhaps it is because our incredibly jovial time and it's surprising emotional and relational challenges left us with a big bundle of feelings about relationships to sort through - mostly just gratefulness, but there's always the mixture of humanity and its shortcomings - ours, there's, some strangers, accidents and no one's and what not.  The overall process left us very tender - and when friends dealt us kindly it sunk in deeper than usual - right to our cores.  When people showed up to our parties, it was the sweetest thing, they were our people and they were making it clear to us. When they took extra time to write cards, or attach cute notes to their gifts.  When their gift just showed they knew us.  It was sweet.

At the shower in her home, so many of Betty's people showed up to shower her son and new daughter-in-law with love and support.  It meant a lot to her - as it did to us - because she'd learned the lesson. She'd decided last summer that this meant when her friend had an event, she didn't make excuses.  She went.  It was more than filling a room or fulfilling a duty - it's being there.

Having grown up in such a large community, it can be hard to know who your people are - is it really all of them?  Most of them wouldn't lift a finger for you in a time of need, right?  A third of them likely don't even speak well of you when you're gone. And can you really afford to be there for all of them with true commitment?  I'm not sure.  I'm not sure I know exactly where the boundaries of my people lie.  No longer being at CCK, I definitely felt less important to some, like my lifetime there suddenly didn't matter, like it wasn't and wouldn't always be an undeniable piece of my core.  But then there are others, who didn't seem to let it change a single thing.  They loved me before.  They loved me after.  They met me for drinks before, and the same after.  They sent encouragement before - and after.  They thought of me - cared for me - watched out for me - supported me - reassured me of the goodness and blessings in my life.  They were and undoubtedly are my people.  Some of them weren't even expected, but they sought us out and told us "this wedding matters. I want to be there." Maybe not in those exact words, but something like that. They were saying, "Hey, we're your people."

To list them might cheapen it, so I won't try.  But good Lord, to be a girl who has people.  It is good, and kind, and precious and it sinks right to the heart these days.

So, be there for your people.  Because they need it.


And while I really won't try to list them, I will say this.  No one has shown this to me better than my Uncle John and Aunt Ivy.  The friendship between them and my parents constantly reminds me what it is to be a friend, a life-long friend.  To be there for your people, and their children.  My favorite part of our whole wedding may have been the moment I walked into my parent's backyard for our engagement party and saw the work of my neighborhood - all the people who'd carried over their lawn furniture, extra dishes, flowers or lanterns.  I'll never forget that feeling of being cared for and blessed by the community that watched me grow, fed me after-school snacks, sent me home to get a well-deserved spanking or let me sleep over on their living room floor for a movie night. We almost didn't have that party. I'll be grateful to Elsa and my Mom forever for encouraging us to have it - and planning and hosting it beautifully. What I would have missed. Sitting out under the stars watching a movie after almost everyone had left - just John, me, Ty, Els, Elise, Aime and my mom.  It was the neighborhood. And that short, imperfect moment, was perfect.

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