It occurred to me the other day that I’ve been writing about “finding community.”
There’s a feeling that comes when you find yourself alone; one that’s raw, numbing, and yet leaves you confidently satisfied.
I’ve never been more secure in my beliefs than I am in this moment. My journey has led me to research topics I never considered prior. I’m a better person for it, at least I am in my own eyes.
Along the way, my wife has been a rock. Sometimes, when I would venture further than she was comfortable with, that rock would come flying toward my face. Nevertheless, she’s been an incredible person to bounce all of my seemingly crazy ideas off of.
In the process, she’s also come face-to-face with things that have caused her to be reshaped. I couldn’t be happier than to be with her on this journey.
But even with an amazing partner to share this journey with, it’s still like we’re riding alone on a wagon in the middle of a prairie–just the two of us with our two kids.
There’s always that hope that you’ll come up on another wagon on the trail.
That’s exactly what’s happened for me over the last few days.
On this journey, I’ve met people who have similar stories to mine. There are funny stories, stories of deep hurt and heartache, love stories, and stories of hope.
I love getting these stories directly via email, but since I quit blogging as often, those emails have also slowed.
In my last blog post, I told you about how I cleaned up what I was seeing on Facebook, and from whom I was hearing from there. I don’t regret that at all, and I still LOVE the solace that decision has provided.
Since then, I’ve found myself only going to a couple of particular places on Facebook to see what like-minded folks are up to.
In one of those places, I identified a handful of people who sounded a LOT like me! That place had grown exponentially over the last couple of months, however, and it caused me to begin pulling away.
I’m an introvert, and I’ve never been a huge fan of large crowds of people–even virtually.
I was having a conversation with one of the people I’d met in this now growing garden, and this person told me how much they were able to relate to me through my story, and wondered if I had any knowledge of other like-minded people.
That’s when it hit me! Yes, I do know of other people! Why hadn’t I come up with some way to organize this group of people so we could find community with one another?
CIRCLE THE DAMN WAGONS, PEOPLE! Let’s have a party!
So we have, and I can’t begin to tell you how overjoyed all of us are to find each other!
We have people from all over the U.S., U.K., and Australia.
We’ve been able to identify this space as a safe place for us to be completely vulnerable. More than that, we’ve found this as a place to be accepted–loved.
We’ve set the table, and we’re having a blast sharing our stories, pain, sorrows, and laughter.
We made the decision early to leave an empty seat or two at the table for others who are like us to fill. We’ll even add another leaf to the table when it’s time.
To my knowledge, none of us have ever met in person, but it feels like we’ve known one another all of our lives.
We’ve had discussions of meeting together via Skype in order to have more “face-to-face” visits. I’d love to actually meet my new friends one day.
For now, none of that matters. We have community, commonality, and respect for each person and their journey. We’ve found our place along the wagon trail, and set up camp.
It’s proven beneficial for me to have taken the time to go through the process of elimination on Facebook (previous post). They’re going to gut me for pointing this out, but in this case, it adds up: “pruning the vine” really did bear fruit.
To my wife, Lindsey, I love you. You’re amazingly beautiful in every facet. I’m grateful to you for partnering with me on this journey.
To my friends with me in this community, I love you, and that’s not bullshit. I’m truly grateful to have you as part of my story, and I’m excited to learn more of yours.