I LIKE PEOPLE. I know that isn’t the norm to says these days, but it’s 100% true. I enjoy their stories, their quirks and all the things that make people unique. This isn’t a Pollyanna way of looking at life; there are people out there who seem evil but I don’t believe that is the norm. I think that Luke Bryan has it right in his new song, “Most People are Good.” It’s not that I don’t see the bad and discord going on in our society today, I see it. I see the divisiveness over politics, religion, immigration, sexual identities and all of that. If I focus on that aspect of our society; it’s awful and heartbreaking. It also isn’t people – it’s titles, categories and prejudices.
I’ve known a lot of people in my life who say “I hate people.” It’s really not a unique statement to make, I just don’t agree. I love the people at Starbucks whom know me by name and share their life stories with me every morning. I love the checker at the grocery store who put his whole face in my fresh basil then exclaimed loudly that it reminded him of living in Italy! I love the woman who won money on the air with me and shared that she had just lost her mother, then her job and how the money was an answer to her prayers. I love hearing the stories. I appreciate that we are each so unique and have so much to offer this world. I strongly believe in the connection and community that we can make together. I will admit though that recognizing this importance of loving people was a process for me.
After my divorce I realized that I was lacking a tribe. I was lacking having ‘my people’ in my life. I had a few very close friends that lived far away and knew a lot of people, but lacked in those drop everything for you friendships. I remember feeling incredibly lonely as I packed up my divorce house and left the keys on the counter that summer day. Standing in my kitchen and looking across an empty house made me realize that I was missing something crucial in my life. The next step was asking myself the hard why question; why didn’t I have more of those drop everything people in my life? The bottom line was that I hadn’t put enough effort into my friend relationships. I think for me it was easy to just focus on my family and job and spend most of my time with them. I also had moved every few years in my career, which was an excuse for keeping most friendships superficial. What I have learned is that it’s hard to really love people if you aren’t willing to get in the trenches with them or allow them to get in yours. It wasn’t until I stood staring at an empty house with a car full of boxes that I realized I wanted more. I wanted that community that I could invest in and relationships with deep roots.
To have this in my life meant I needed to make some meaningful changes. It meant not just saying, ‘hey let’s get together,’ but actually doing it. It meant being present and not so self- absorbed. As I changed, so did my friendships and joy. I was excited for happy hours and the chance to get to know someone better. I loved meeting people who I connected with and really appreciated when someone wanted to get to know me better. I know this may sound a little corny, but it’s honestly soooo true! Finally, I noticed that I just liked people. They didn’t have to be friends or people I would ever see again, but I appreciated the community. A few weeks ago my best friend was in town and I took her to one of my favorite breakfast places in Evergreen (Wildflower Café). As we were sitting in the very small restaurant looking around we both had that same reaction, this is awesome! We were surrounded by the most beautiful mixed group of people. The result, the more open I’ve been to loving people, the more amazing people I continue to meet. For example, I’ve had two of the most incredible and deep conversations with two incredibly smart and wise women who just happened to be my Uber drivers. Granted there are some really unique people – but I still love it. Like the Uber driver who told me how aliens were taking control of our country and government and how he’s been abducted twice. Honestly made for an interesting ride and explained the foil around his neck. Stay strong brother!
I believe that we’re all made for connection and community. I also have learned that to have these types of relationships takes a conscious commitment and balancing act. Although that day standing alone in my divorce house and closing that chapter was sad, it was also the catalyst that brought me to change. One of my favorite authors, Glennon Doyle Wambach said recently that pain is holy. I wasn’t sure if I agreed, but I will say that I see her point. Without the pain I’m not sure if I would have been motivated to make a change. For that, I will agree that pain may be holy and necessary and I’m even grateful for it.
Pic Collage 1….And 2….Couldn’t decide on my fav…