I have always felt like I needed someone or to be part of some group. I supposed we are designed for fellowship and community, but I believe we have trampled on the intended idea of community. I believe community was intended by the maker to be all inclusive. However, I too often see limits placed on community and fellowship. Groups quickly become exclusive. We exclude people for so many reasons. I know personally I felt excluded from groups of people from grade school to adulthood. I still have many moments were I don’t quite feel like I belong. Those moments suffocate me. Those moments cause me to question myself but more so question how people are oblivious. Then, I remember I am an overanalyzer and maybe I truly see and feel things on a deeper level than other people. BUT, it is so simple to understand people…LISTEN. Be present, truly present when you are together. Notice the little things…voice inflections, eye contact, facial expressions or lack thereof. Listen to the words they say as well as the ones they don’t. We tell each other so much without even speaking, but in our society we are so concerned with “me” or “our little group” or our phones that we miss what those around us are telling us through their silence.
Now, I am not pleading out. I too can be consumed to the point I don’t interpret what people around me are feeling, but that is not who I want to be. I have thought long and hard about MY tribe. You hear talk about loving your tribe or finding your people. Over the past year I realized, the quest for my tribe actually killed my vibe. When you want so much to be included, your heart aches when you realize you weren’t a thought or worse you were an afterthought. The death of my vibe doesn’t make for a very social Lana.
Several people from my high school class got together this past weekend, and I intentionally didn’t go. I kinda feel bad that I didn’t go now. But you see I smiled at high school graduation. I didn’t really shed a tear because I felt totally lost and out of place among people who once made me feel alive. High school is a treacherous place in and of itself. It is the birthplace to the exclusive social group (well maybe middle school). While I was in high school, my daddy died. Losing a parent at any age is difficult, but high school is a pretty pivotal time. Two weeks to the day after my daddy died, my granddaddy died. Before the end of the month, my dog had gotten killed. It was a brutal time. I retreated away from most people. I didn’t want to be a part of anything. I cried myself to sleep most nights. I cried until there were no more tears. I grieved away from the crowd. During this time, my boyfriend was my rock. He was all I needed. (I ended up marrying him) When I was able to cope and was ready to reemerge to the land of the living, I was different. My friends were different. I no longer had a place with them. It was a hard two years for me. So, when I got the chance to reminisce about high school, I really didn’t want to. I suppose though that wasn’t fair to the people who did. I apologize because there were some really great moments in high school too.
Thinking about high school caused me to reexamine me. I was different after losing my daddy and that loss continues to mold me into a gentler, a more giving, open, and compassionate individual. And it is in that molding that I realize my tribe is my journey. I have met some of the most extraordinary people over the course of my life. There are people who I briefly knew who changed me. There are people who I feel I have known forever but never see who are there when I need them. There are people who come and go frequently yet their visits or texts have the ability to grow me into a more loving person and faithful servant. There are four specific people I live with who hold a huge chunk of my heart and have taught me to experience love on a whole new level. Finally, there are people I am continuing to meet, and I am looking forward to the fellowship they will bring and the lessons they will impart.
So, I say all of that to say this. If you are like me and don’t feel like you fit in, look past the immediate circle you aren’t included in and find opportunities to fellowship with those who need your presence. God provides us with people who need OUR fellowship. Don’t let yourself be blinded by the people who can’t see you. Also, be careful not to hurt those around you by not being present. Listen with your heart to their words and to their silence. Tell them you love them or you are proud of them or you are praying for them. Send a text. Hug a neck. Pat a back. Be more of the person God intended your to be. Inclusion and fellowship can mean so much to a person in your path not just those in your immediate social circle. #bepresent #godsloveisinclusive
I pray, Lord, you consume all of my heart and then allow my heart to gracefully guide my words and actions towards those people you place in front of me.