Last year I sat in a homeschool training session where the speaker was talking about letting your kids be kids. She lamented her own tendencies toward control and cleanliness and frequent ‘no’s’ when it came to creating. Then she mentioned how her friend’s house was the opposite, all piles and crafts and art and creativity bursting from every homemade mural. “I’m a neat freak, but my friend is really a free spirit,” she concluded.
At this point, my good friend sitting next to me turned to me and said, “See…you’re not messy; you’re just a free spirit.”
It’s true. All of it. From the recycling-born-forts to the art projects everywhere to the sharpie marker stains on my butcher block island. At any given moment, someone in my house is dressing up and someone is building and someone is staging a dance rehearsal in the living room.
But what’s also true is that my friend next to me could say that with certainty and with grace. She’s one of my people.
I call them my people, but maybe you have another phrase: my tribe, my peeps, my folks, my close friends, my team, my go-to friends. I’m not talking about all the people you know or all your friends on facebook or everyone on your Christmas card list. I’m talking about the ones who get you, the ones you cry in front of, the ones who show up.
To some of you , this may be a mystery. Maybe you’ve never had a friend you could just drop in on. Maybe you can’t imagine hosting a dinner without deep cleaning your home. Maybe the idea of road tripping with anyone else and their kids seems insane.
And maybe it is.
But when you find your people, you suddenly get it. You get why it’s 11:15 at night and you’ve had a L O N G day and the phone rings from one of your people and you answer. Without thinking.Without regret. Without fail.
When you find your people, youstop dressing up to go to someone’s house for dinner. You stop worrying about your kids being so your kids with others. You don’t stage your house to host something.
u find your people, you don’t have to tell tons of backstory, don’t have to explain why you love something, don’t have to justify who you are. They get it. They know you. They’re in.
When you find your people, you cultivate a friendship that becomes a sacred space; it’s a harbor and a greenhouse and testing ground all in one. You can call your people when your voice is shaky; you can text your people when the day is unraveling and you need them to pray, to help, to come.
When there are no words, they simply show up. When there are no explanations, they look you in the eyes and cry along. When there is no hope, their presence is hope enough, in that moment. When the truth seems far and sketchy, they offer it gently, right here and just for you.
I used to see someone who was isolated or unhealthy or hurting and think, “Man, they could use some counselling.” Now I see someone isolated or unhealthy or hurting, and I think, “Man, they could use some people.” Not because people replace Jesus; because people embody Him.
I know that it isn’t always easy to find. We’ve been incredibly blessed in the community we’ve found. Nine years ago, some new friends said, “Hey, can we do life with you? We’re thinking about buying a house to live closer.” Three months later, they were four doors down.
Six years ago, we pulled into the back of our new house (just a few blocks away to stay close to the aforementioned family) and I met our neighbor, Veronica. She had three littleish kids and so did I. Now years later, the fence is gone and the kids are inseparable and my house is strewn with things that I’m not sure which of us owns.
“Neighbors are like cousins who live next door,” said my four-year-old, just last week.
And there’s others who have come in and joined us, who have graciously offered their friendship in so many ways. Friends who offer counsel and wisdom in times of decisions or peach schnapps in times of celebration. They come, too, and join the picture. They add to your people.
Find your people, friends. Find them and love them like crazy and cherish the moments when it all makes sense. It’s hard work, that’s for sure. And relationships (like everything else) take maintenance and building and energy. But, oh the richness that comes from knowing that you are safe and welcome and celebrated for who you are.
So celebrate your people, folks. Celebrate being known. Celebrate the chaos that comes from a full table and a herd of kids and a well-timed word. All thanks to your people.