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Know You’re Not Alone

January 7th, 2013

Author Ann Lamott tweeted recently.

My experience with being a human is that we are all in the same boat- so ruined, so loved, so not in control of so much. Flailing; adored.

I love this, and I love Ann’s honest approach. It resonates deeply. So does her story about finding an inner city San Francisco church. She initially went because it was near the Flea Market she liked to visit on a Sunday. This was before she was well known. She was pregnant and preparing to be a single mom. The small community of 30 or so, mainly black, mostly poor, women embraced her immediately. They sidled up next to her and slipped her dollar bills, 10s and 20s, and some of them gave her baggies full of dimes. As Ann said, it all happened surreptitiously, as if they were dealing cocaine.

When her son Sam was born, they adopted him as if their own baby. They lined up to hold him. Ann said they passed him around like champion dwarf tossers. What I love most about the story is that after she became a bestselling author, nothing changed. They kept sidling up to her and slipping her baggies full of dimes. They didn’t care about fame or fortune. Poor themselves, they did it because it was a completely authentic expression of care.

This is what community is all about. Everyone should experience this sort of support. Believers have their churches and I’m glad for it. There is no reason why non believers can’t gather in communities of support as well. Without the unity of common religious beliefs, there is still so much to be gained from sharing community, watching each others’ kids growing up, marking the great milestones of time, sharing the ups and downs of life; basically a safe place to practice being human together. There is so much to be said for reminding each other that we’re not alone, and there is a home to find love even when home is not a place of support.

I’ve got my home away from home; me peeps who sidle up to me with words and actions of support. We don’t all believe the same way. That’s part of the fun of it. We learn from each other. It’s this community, as well as my family that I adore, and the online Soulseeds community, that keeps me optimistic, especially when there seems to be very little reason to be optimistic.

If you don’t have it, seek it out. Do it offline and online. The more, the better. If community is missing in your life, make yourself at home in the Soulseeds community, where  people of all faiths and no faith can inspire and encourage each other. Feel free to share comments on this blog, or join the Facebook page, or tweet me. Social media is a great tool for good when it builds the same sort of community online that Ann Lamott, and I, enjoy in our neighborhoods.

Community can’t make your problems go away, but it can remind you that you don’t have to face them alone.

It’s a lot like the Phillip Phillip’s song, Home. Below the lyrics you can watch an awesome version of this song from Brian Vander Ark, recorded live at our community gathering. I love the song, and really love Brian’s interpretation. Its worth a watch.

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m going to make this place your home

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  1. Sam says:

    Great post!

    I work in a fast paced private school environment where people are often too busy to say please and thank you much of the time. That’s at least what it feels like. It can be really difficult if I’m feeling a bit low when most people you pass in the halls is so caught up in their own inner narrative.

    Finding this site was a blesssing! I’m still hopeful I can I find little ways to increase the sense of connectedness here – we all need more of it in our lives, because it sure makes the challenges in life, internal and external, easier to face.  

  2. ian says:

    thx Sam, good to connect and best thoughts to you at the school and in life.

  3. Emily says:

    Soulseeds, I love your stories…

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