Sometimes I’m amazed at how much I learned just from moving five hundred miles from home in the past four years. Five hundred miles really isn’t much in the grand scheme of the globe, or even the country. Each move was nearly the same distance; each move had its own lessons. But there was one common thread throughout my life living with the military community.
Show up for each other.
Literally, show up. At one another’s doors. With a care package if they’re sick, or a baked something just because. At our first permanent station, we would “BOO” each others’ kids at Halloween, same idea for each holiday. We met monthly, bi-monthly, weekly. Our kids played, we talked. We prayed for one another in earnest. We helped and weren’t afraid to ask for help. We carpooled, cooked meals, folded each others’ laundry. We laughed and drank wine and did much talking about everything and nothing. We loved on babies that weren’t our own with aunt-like affection. We were there.
I am thankful for the learning experience that I would have never had at home, simply because I have a great big, supportive, slightly crazy family. WE show up for one another. We could be ready to throw ‘bows, but if one of us needed something, it all pauses and that need gets handled. I didn’t ask much of my friends, and I assumed they didn’t need anything from me; not really. I see now that it isn’t that simple.
Guys, we have to make our villages. We have to be deliberate. Pick your dream team and get at it. Faces seeing faces. Borrowing an extra kid or two for the evening. Picking up medicine for a quarantined mama. Making sure a new mom or a grieving mom can just sit in those moments as needed and know she’s covered on the every day, practical stuff. Slapping on the one lipstick your daughters haven’t hijacked and getting out for a girls’ night. This is the good, soul-feeding stuff.
We have to make our villages. We have to be willing to let people in. Past the curtain we keep drawn to hide our imperfect, messy lives. The more you do this, the easier it gets, I promise. Your village will love and accept you and probably so not even care about whatever it is you’re hung up on. This is the good, humbling stuff.
I don’t know how to tell you to go about this, except maybe again to say: show. up. But it needs to happen. We all need a village. Find your people and get to it.