find the others…

March 17, 2013

Office Depot guy (big burly man): How are you today?

He said to me while I wandered the store aimlessly…

Me: I’m…(pause)….I’m alright.

I said with a pathetic half smile and a disheveled braid.

Office Depot guy: (belly laughs half for a hot second) Ummm, are you okay?

Me: (laughing back) No, not really…but I will be. But I think I am actually just a little bit better now…since you came back with that second run through and all, you know, after I told you the truth.

Surprisingly, this man did not appear to think I was bat-shit crazy.

Office Depot guy:  Ohhhh good, sometimes that’s all it takes.

And in one instant…we were together…completely connected, this guy, for just a moment, was my community.

And the best part is, we may never see each other ever again.

And he has no idea that I have been crying for 2 days over having to move and from the outside looking in, it all seems kind of ridiculous to be so sad over moving 5 miles away…but from the inside looking out, there is a wave of reflection and grief because now I know what I am losing and how this place changed me…and how deep it runs inside of me.

I used to be a nomad of sorts, moving from place to place, setting up my shop of goodness for soul business. I offered an array of love and kindness, standing behind the counter dolling out the goods, then I hid and retreated when I was tired or had nothing left to share… but I rarely received, I am not sure I always even knew how to or knew I was even worthy.

I believed there was some kind of nobility in ultimately standing alone, that it exhibited some inner strength and honored some ancient familial legacy. I was verbally honest and occasionally vulnerable but had trouble taking the one last giant step…asking for help, or being seen in the one dark moment where rescue was sure to follow.

And it is a lot less dramatic than it sounds…it’s rather small and everyday actually…it was needing a ride for my kids to school, or a tiny bouquet of flowers left on a door, or one song sent my way, or one conversation (or 30) where one kind friend tells you the truth about yourself that you can’t see while kids run around and interrupt 57,000 times.

…and I was afraid of true community, because it meant my soul being all out there and others finding out just how much I do not have my shit together… and it meant I might need and depend on people, it meant that I might be rejected or that people might fail me, but it also meant that:

community carries us to the next place of learning, growing understanding

community shows us how pissed we are at each other when something just isn’t right among us

community asks us to hold space for each other when we can’t hold it ourselves

community tells us to try again, or have a do-over

community asks us to add yet another seat at the table, and makes sure everyone is there, to find the others

community requires that we look inside ourselves and own our own shit so we can love and build what we know it is meant to be

community reminds that we are better together, that we find relief in leaning in, and in turn our hearts swell with a  great gratitude that  keeps the circle going

community melts us, and is messier than we imagined or hoped

community calls us to do what love asks

….when it is joyful

….especially when it is hard.

and the truth is, we are all “the others”, wanting to be found ….and that community can take time to build and can also be as simple as just one moment, one exchange but it requires us to take a step outside of ourselves…sometimes that step is the easiest you’ll ever take, or like crossing a freakin’ marathon line and other times it feels like stepping off a cliff…but it doesn’t change that we have to do it, because we need each other and

…because  we were never meant to stand alone. We are meant to find…and be found.

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13 Responses to “find the others…”

  1. Jen Bailey Says:

    It’s like reading about myself. Unbelievable. The idea that people will “see” you is terrifying sometimes. But because of who you are Patience, you finally allowed people in. And then of course when they actually want to be around you-imagine!. So by reaching deep into your courage and inviting others in, you create this amazing safe space of love and community. I know the move is hard on you & there’s no shame in mourning it as you have been. Just know that you’re taking this community with you in your heart. Love will cultivate space for the next part of your journey. I’ll be thinking of you my friend.

  2. Lisa Infante Driscoll Says:

    I’m praying for you, my friend. We’ve never met and live far from eachother, but your blog has helped me thru some very hard moments. Look ahead to where God is leading you…yes, sometimes it seems He has a wicked sense of humor. It’s hard and scary to be only one piece of a very large puzzle, yet God has included you in the big picture. He wants you, he needs you. He knows it’s hard for you. He knows your grief. Let Him carry you to this new place where He knows the why of it all. He doesn’t ask us to do it well. He just wants us to follow and when you can’t put one foot in front of the other for yourself, hold out your arms thru your tears to be carried. Home Depot guy? God disguises Himself in all of us.

  3. Glen Says:

    Thank you for this Patience. I want to share something with you that I recently read that I’m sure you will connect with and ties in with the heart of what you wrote. I often guard my heart from my real community in tired realization that I will either be missed completely or given a fix that I really am not interested in. I loved what you wrote and hope this next part is well received.

    Here it is: “Confession is a stripping away of protection, the telling of a truth which might once have seemed like a humiliation, become suddenly a gateway, an entrance to solid ground; even a first step home. To confess is to free oneself, not only by admitting a sin or an omission but to profess a deeper allegiance, a greater dedication to something beyond the mere threat of immediate punishment or the desolation of being shunned. To confess is to declare oneself ready for a more courageous road, one in which a previously defended identity might not only be shorn away, but be seen to have been irrelevant, a distraction, a working delusion that kept us busy over the years and held us unaccountable to the real question.”

    – David Whyte
    from Readers’ Circle Essay, “Confession”
    ©2011 David Whyte

  4. Kathy Kahlson Says:

    Thanks Patience. This reminds me how important it is to take 100% responsibility for my actions, my feelings and my outcomes. Self reflection is so freeing!


  5. Patience, once again you stir my heart, speak the words swirling within that space in me, inspire me, and speak so beautifully as to what is in ALL of our hearts — to what is in the HUMAN SPIRIT. YEs, Patience. Community. I have been recovering from an unexpected brain injury (who would’ve thought falling off a treadmill would result in this?!). And I wrote a post about being in receiving mode: http://www.barefootbarn.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/receiving-mode/

    Yes, that season in our lives (for however long it lasts – a day, a week, a few months, a year) when we, the usual care givers, need to receive. As a “posture” in life…for a season. THIS Is what I am revisiting right now in this season of my life — how to receive. I am soooo used to being the facilitator, healer, psychotherapist, the mom,…you name it — keeping things together, helping people tether themselves to the Divine and hold space for others. BUT I haven’t been able to do that this spring. Nope. Total receiving mode. It’s humbling AND empowering all at the same time.

    So I hear you. Yes, what gorgeous writing. What a gorgeous soul. What a gorgeous movement you are creating by sharing from your vulnerability! I’m sharing on my facebook page.

    Love to you,
    Lisa

    http://www.barefootbarn.com

  6. Kati Says:

    We love you and your family. Take heart, transition is the toughest space to occupy (we Mamas should know). One day you will make a move that is THE move that changes everything and it still may feel scary and sad going into it. But opportunity knocks with every change. xoxo – K

  7. lindaluke Says:

    So beautiful and true. You inspire me.

  8. Annie DeSanti Says:

    I”m older than you, You’d think I’d have grown up and out of all those feelings you talk about. Have my ‘shit together’ but the truth is, while hopefully one does grow and improve and understand more, we will always be vulnerable on some level. You put all those feelings we may not even realize we have (or at least have no capacity to share), so eloquently. in front of us to digest and recognize and ponder and help move us onward and upward. .

  9. Ann Pearson Says:

    Oh thank you. I’m sorry for your pain and that you had to move from your community. you inspire me, I was so jealous of your community. And you just hit me with, that it wasn’t about the neighborhood, like it was a magic place on earth you just stumbled upon – though I am sure it was a place made beautiful – it is about the work you and your community put into it to make community. It is the work of our souls and heart that make community. It is my responsibility to make community not just to look for the “right” house in a perfect neighborhood then I can have magical block parties and ding dong ditches that will fulfill my soul. That isn’t how it works.

  10. Marnie G Says:

    Another beautiful, real, touching piece. You are gifted and honest. The best to you on the next part of your journey. Peace.

    • Cindy T Says:

      The way you write… It’s beautiful. It’s honest. It is soul searching. And you are most definitely correct in saying we are not meant to stand alone. God is moving you for a reason. This next home was meant to be. Have trust and faith that God always has a plan!

  11. William Rhode Says:

    Quite agree— community drives us to new places in ourlife’s journey (and beyond), and it is so necessary.

    I would also add ‘family’! The introspection that close family ties drives in us is also crucial, and might well include ‘that community’ bucket. I believe that the inputs family povides in each of us (encouragement, feedbak, direction, discipline)are ctritical, necessar, and certainly in my case, most appreciated.

  12. Shannon Says:

    I am currently taking an MOOC about social media and we recently finished a module and online discussion about Community: how to build it, how to nurture it, how online communities differ from IRL communities and so on. I have also been chewing on how to create community around a healthcare practice and how social media can play a part. So, I have been thinking about community quite a lot these days.

    Your posts come to me so often in such timely ways- like the universe knows what I need to hear and sends your words my way. And as I read the comments (I always do!), I know that there are so many others (other than me) who feel similarly. That they are likewise touched by your spirit, your courage, your vulnerability, your words; and this helps carry them through the mundanities of everyday life knowing that we are not alone in all the little insecurities that we tend to let snowball and overwhelm us. It reminds us to stop and notice those little things, appreciate the people in our lives, celebrate the everyday, honor our imperfections, and, yes, recognize our human connections with those around us- even strangers in Office Depot.

    Don’t forget about the community you have cultivated through your kindness work, including this blog. Even when you are physically moving your things (and they are just things), know that THIS Community is with you whereever you go. Cheering you, supporting you, crying with you, and moving with you. You just have to open the internet and see your kindness magic coming back around to you.

    Thank you, Patience ~S


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