I’m writing this as someone who always knew in her head that community is helpful, useful, handy. See the words I’ve used there in describing it? Exactly. For most of my life, that’s been my stance. “Yeeea, it’s pretty good. Can come in handy, yep.” So to sum it up, when it came to me, I never really saw its value. I respected that others felt they needed it. Good for them. But me? I could figure things out for the most part. And if I ever needed help, yea, there were a couple of friends I could reach out to. And did.
Press the fast-forward button, please. Thank you. And here we are. 2018.
For a good portion of 2017, I was swimming, swimming as hard as I could to figure out life. To make it make sense. To get my family going. Then, another kid was added in the mix and for the very first time in….oooh, I don’t know, ever(!), I felt in many ways like I was slowing down in my (swimming) race. Then felt like I had fully slowed down. Ok, and then felt I had started treading water. Sigh. I basically reached the point where I had to admit to myself that this thing called “life with two” was whipping my butt HUGE-time. Like, just like that. I had arrived at the realization that I’m not enough.
Guys, the truth is that we’re never enough. None of us is. But we can coast through life assuming we are – until one day. And there’s a “one day” for each of us. When something slams us hard and we feel like: ok, I really can’t. In my case, the “one day” happened, but then, optimist that I am (sometimes), I told myself to get back up and try again. Well, it’s been months and I’m still there, trying and trying again.
Parenting has highlighted and greatly exposed my inadequacies. Incredibly. In mammoth-like proportions. And I’ve technically just started! My goodness! I’ve had reasons to question my abilities several times within a given day. Several times. And I’m just dealing with two kids under three. How do others do it, those with multiple kids? Single mums? Also, for those who are through it, how did they? Sigh. Anyway, the point of this post is that, I started grasping, reaching out all around me. In my case, I raised those antennas high, and when I would hear someone speaking my language (i.e. speaking of the exact issues I was struggling with as a parent), inside of me there would be a loud BEEP BEEP BEEP. I would seek to connect with that person, even if it was for a 10-minute conversation. Such connections revived me – most often because in chatting, I’d realize I wasn’t the only parent trying his/her hardest not to kill their kid(s)! #justsaying
And you know what I found? In lowering my guard, in choosing the path of humility, in reaching out/asking for help, in being vulnerable, I found that others reached back to me. I found that there were more like me, it turned out. And we started grabbing at each other, arms swinging around in the dark. And when we connected, we clung and held on for dear life. THIS. WAS. COMMUNITY.
Aaah. Took me long enough, but as with all things in life, we all have our paths. We have our learning experiences to go through. I needed to fail and fail often for me to finally look up, look across, and see that help was always there.
All this to say this: no matter what you’re going through, trust me in this one thing: there are others going through it who would love to go through THAT THING with you. With you. We were created by God to grow in community with other humans. We aren’t solitary beings. The trick is being willing to risk vulnerability.
From what I’ve been learning so far, it would appear that the more you lower that mask from your face, the more your village comes into focus before your eyes.
Does anyone know what I’m talking about? What has been your experience in finding community? How have you handled vulnerability?