Do you know you’re loved? Heard? Appreciated? I don’t think we need a lot of friends, but I am absolutely certain that we need a few of close, real genuine friends.
We thrive in community.
This is Rob, Susan’s husband writing today. 🙂
I remember Susan talking about a weekend retreat she went on… She had high hopes for the weekend retreat, and it was more fun than she thought. But it was not the speakers or what she learned that she loved. Nor the planned activities, including the zipline—which was a blast! It was the fellowship, the community. The women she met.
Talking about their lives. The good and the bad. Cracking jokes and being silly until 2:00 am. Sharing deep stories with friends on their drive home. Those are the elements she loved.
The same is true when it is a time of struggle, instead of a retreat. We must have people with whom we can talk, cry, complain. We must have people who will listen without trying to fix things, or fix us. Just listen.
Being LGBTQ or the parent of an LGBTQ child – being often oppressed and marginalized, even condemned and attacked – we have all spent a lot of time isolated and alone. Either in the closet as a gay person, or as a parent or an ally. Always wondering if it is safe to express the deepest places of our heart, our biggest secrets, to someone.
It is critical that we have people in our lives who unconditionally love, accept and affirm us for who we are – whatever mood we are in. Sometimes that is family, way too often on this particular journey it is not. But that’s okay… we all just expand our definition of “family.”
Do you have people you can just be with? As you are… goofy, silly, tender, crazy, loud, quiet, bold, timid, emotional, weak, strong… just you.
Jesus tells us to love God, and to love one another. Love is intertwined with relationship, with community.
You can’t love or be loved alone – someone else has to be part of the equation.
Susan told me about a time when she met a darling older woman at the grocery store, as they searched for just the right avocados. She thought perhaps the lady was 65, but she said she was 85. This woman is convinced, she went on to say, that she is doing so well because she knows how much she is loved.
Do you know how much you are loved? By God? By others? Loved when you come into the world and loved when you go out. It’s all part of living together in community. Without that, we are done.
May our hearts be enriched as we seek love and community with each other.
May our hearts be freed to love and be loved.