My Village

My village

These women…where do I begin…it’s safe to say that they are the Family that I choose. A couple of them have known each other since pigtails, a few since high school, two more since their first cherished neighborhood. I thankfully fell into this group about 13 years ago.

We have been through the births of babies… (Cindy almost decked my OBGYN because he wouldn’t let her in the delivery room.) The drama of middle school; hormones, dating, attitudes…watching all of our kids (19 between us) come in to their own….finding their voices. And, high school….oh, that was fun. Celebrations have been thrown as kids have left for college, and glasses of wine have been poured as we commiserated when kids have come back home…Just to stay for a little while.

Hands have been held and we’ve shared the worry when jobs have been lost and life has been uncertain. And, we’ve pulled each other tight and offered comfort as we’ve lost parents. Reminding each other that we are always here no matter what…

We have raised our glasses to our kids’ accomplishments, and celebrated when they’ve married. And, now Grandbabies!!! How wonderful is this? Our village is coming full circle.

Us Instead Of Them

us Instead of themUsually in our lives we tend to separate people into groups …most often two groups. US and THEM .

Our neat and tidy group…US. These are our friends, acquaintances, and people who look like us. It’s a pretty safe group. We gravitate towards them at Church, parties, sit by them in theaters, smile at them in line, push our kiddos towards them on the playground. Oh come on you’ve done it. I’ve done it. Go play with that cute little girl; she has a pony tail just like you. We don’t even have to “know” them, but we seek them out. They look like us, dress like us, behave like us…We’re smart like that. How convenient. How typical. How boring.

Why do we stay in our comfort zone? Why are we afraid to dip our toe in the water of unknown?

And then there’s THEM…you know…people who aren’t like US. (At least that’s what we think) Are we afraid that the tattoos and piercings covering the young man in line 13 are going to rub off on us? Surely, we know they aren’t contagious, but still WE stand back a couple of feet. Not to pick on tatts and piercings…I’ve got a kid with a tatt, and I’m sure it won’t be his last. Ladies, we have all given that Mom the “look” at the grocery store. You know the one pushing the cart with a shirtless diaper clad baby in the front swigging on a juice box; followed closely by a snotty nosed toddler with no shoes on…with his face buried in a cereal box. Maybe instead of judging this poor exhausted Momma we should be saying, “Sister, I feel your pain! How can I help you?”. (Honestly, it wasn’t that long ago that I WAS that Momma). How about the person on the corner? Store clerks? The new kid at school or Church?  Someone with skin a different color?   A person who loves differently? You see them everyday.

I was reading Bob Goff’s essay: 10 Ways To An Extraordinary Life last night, and this really struck me…

Goff suggests making friendship intentional and, moreover, risky. Because sometimes you can learn more from friends who stand just left of center than those with whom you share everything in common.

What if we got rid of THEM, and included everyone in US? How cool would that be? Step out of your comfort zone and you will be amazed who you meet. Just start looking at people as humans…not as races, tattoos, piercings, homeless, exhausted Mommas, store clerks, straights or gays.

Humans. Us instead of THEM.