Do you have people who are part of your tribe–the ones where laughter unfurls and joy madly whirls? Those folks know your story because they have been there at various junctures, have been part of the lessons learned and the sorrows survived. Well, part of my tribe arrived tonight bearing gifts. They brought this great Brian Andreas card which reminded me of when some of us visited his studio together a few years ago. Lots has happened to all of us since that gettogether.
I spoke of these women during my interview with Dr.Chochinov yesterday. All of these women are almost one decade older than I am and yet from the moment we met there has been an incredible bond. I truly love these women. I have always said that there is something about the women in my life that is extraordinary and it certainly holds true for this part of my tribe. I very much felt I was still a child when I met them – I was only 20 years old and did not have a lot of life experience. Moving to the United States was a scary and exciting decision that I have never regretted, partly because of the amazing friendships formed with these remarkable women.
When I was asked if I could pull out one memory about what I had learned from these women, my mind did not go where I expected it to. Really, there were so many other recollections of my feminist journey, but it was my heart that needed me to know how deeply these women loved me. All of my life I had a community of women/females with whom to unfurl laughter. This has made all the difference. Even in my earliest years, a group of girls surrounded me and blessed me. Those friendships created on the playground of my elementary school that began in grade one remain today. These women who I met at college are still very much part of my life and of my heart.
I have amazing memories that I could have shared. There was the time that I stayed with my friend Liz who when she found out we had not ever eaten catfish she whipped us up a full course meal of catfish and greens and served it to us at 1:30 in the morning. Don’t ask a southern woman about food without expecting to eat. I learned about hospitality that day. Another time, I stayed with a friend who was on food stamps because she was poor. I offered to go to the store to pick up some food for her and she was reluctant to let me experience the snarky attitude that accompanied not being able to pay with cash. That day I learned about shame and resilience. Mostly I remember the many deep conversations about careers, children, dreams, travel, world issues, and extended family members. There were many late nights, punctuated by laughter and sometimes the odd sprinkling of tears, but always was the affirmation of each person within the circle.
These are women who have lived fully and loved deeply. They have taught me to love myself because they have found someone spectacular inside of me, as I have with each one of them. As one of them said in the card, now that we were all together again, all is right in the world. May laughter unfurl as we share these next days together. May we be blessed in conversation and in silence. May our worlds never be the same again because of our friendship and love for one another.
Who is your tribe?
What is it about unfurling laughter that can change the world?
Holy Spirit, give us the joy of unfurling laughter. Let us twirl rejoicing in our tribes, celebrating the women in our lives who create the world anew. May we be healers, teachers, mentors, and admirers for one another. Amen.