So if you saw pictures and videos of my trip to Half Moon Bay, you saw the lovely women standing with me. These women have been in my life weekly, monthly, and every major life event in the last 5 years. And this little community was born because two women in our crew decided they wanted to start a book club. So they collectively thought about people that were very different from each other but would bring their perspectives and life experiences to the table for some really good discussion into the books we read. We really had no idea that it would evolve like it did.
So my first meeting with the book club, I was not sure. I only knew one person in the group and she was not there that night. I peered around the room and realized we are all wildly different from each other. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work. It was uncomfortable and it took me awhile to get a feel for everyone. It took me even longer to feel safe enough to speak up when I disagreed. I like to call it our dating period. You’re polite and listening. Intentionally pivoting away from heated topics. (Any Enneagram type 9’s out there? Hey!) But still have the feelers engaged to see where everyone stands.
But as time and relational equity grew. I did see some things intentionally cultivated in the group that have made it into what it is today. Including heated topics and polar opposite view points. But these 4 things anchored us into a sisterhood that wouldn’t have existed without
An open floor. So when someone was talking, processing, and articulating, no one was jumping in to argue, correct, or play defense. We listened first. It’s important to be seen and heard. We have provided space for everyone to share their hearts at whatever stage of that process.
A safe environment. Just expounding more off of number one, but there was a genuine motivation in all of us to understand each other. And when you ask questions to understand instead of to corner someone or trap them into your belief...you bring connection instead of division. You cultivate a space to honor each other. And respect is like the syrup on that waffle. Ya need both or it just isn’t right.
Willingness to be taught. So this has been the most incredible thing because it’s a posture of the heart. I hate to break it to you, but ya just don’t know everything. And there are people in your life that have wisdom and knowledge to learn from. We have done actual activities together, like making wreathes, embroidery, gotten into the enneagram types to learn even more about each other, parenting philosophies, henna, sourdough, hair cutting, skin care, and on and on. But when we see something in each other that is amazing...we call it out and ask them to teach us. And then actually follow through to do it.
Apologize and own things. You will say things that are hurtful. You may come in a little too hot on a topic. You will be ignorant to things. You will be triggered. Be good at apologizing and owning your words. Something that I have learned is that being right isn’t always worth hurting someone.
But guys, if you’re looking for a tribe and you want to them to look like you, talk like you, live like you...it’s probably not going to happen. I mean you can...but why? There is only one you in the world. And you are a gift. All the beautiful things in your heart are meant to be revealed to the people that you engage with everyday that are not like you. You bring something valuable to the world...and so do they.
When I’m searching for common ground with someone. Sometimes I just ask the Lord, what can I learn from them. And ya know what...I always learn something incredible. I get to experience something inside them that truly impacts me.
That’s the beauty of connecting. Living with your arms open, unguarded, and truly enjoying the heart and soul of the person in front of you. Learning to connect to people that are polar opposite of you will teach you that we are actually all the same. We all want the same things. And that hard line in the sand is actually very soft.
While the familiar is comfortable, the unfamiliar is what makes you grow. When I think about our group the actual things that we all have in common are so slim.
But it’s the important things that keep ya grounded. We love hard. We all want the absolute best for our kids, and understanding there are MANY roads to achieve that. We love our husbands and value marriage. We respect each other. And we show up for each other. We are not perfect, in fact we are weekly grinding things out in the world and with each other. But dang it...I freaking love them.
So look for people that challenge you, inspire you, that disagree with you but can love you and respect you nonetheless.
Start looking for greatness in people, because I believe every person carries dimensions of God’s heart. Dimensions that look nothing like our own but still reflect His nature.
A reflection that we can learn from. We just have to learn to see it.
P.s. just side note for the practical things: it’s helpful to have at least 1-2 people in your group that do all the admin and organizing stuff. Like these trips and activities wouldn’t happen without them—no joke. Ya just need a few chiefs and more people willing to be Indians. (Suz, you really are the queen)