I was talking to a friend earlier today about my last post. She’s my Texas-lifelong bestie and is super wise. She’s also my good-trouble friend. I was telling her about the beautiful communities we’ve been a part of in Texas.
My friend said this: you need that feeling of community without having to leave it.
That struck me as true. Why is it we do not know this, really, until it’s over? And these endings have been harsh for a variety of reasons, and we are not the common denominator. The reasons are all different for what causes the crash. My friend got me thinking about why we don’t feel our belonging until we are out.
There is a common denominator, and it is this: the community was lost before we were out.
I remembered what I wrote last night Emmanuel Acho said: we do not value gifts the same. We value the gifts of athletes more than we do an empath.
A lightbulb came on in my head.
Jake and I have complementary gifts. His is math and athletics—it’s his math background that makes him wicked smart at sports. I’m an empath with emotional intelligence that is sorely undervalued, but it’s not when we start forming communities.
In the beginning, most communities start with a desire for relationship. It’s more important than the achieving in the beginning. This is why in the beginning Jake and I are a great team. I do relationships well bc I love connecting with people. It’s more important to me than winning. Jake is an athlete but he knows how to teach the sport. His success has not come from stealing players or cutting corners to win. We are authentic in our gifts.
We value the athlete, but also anyone who achieves at a high level (school does this too) over the relationship. We also are scared of other peoples emotions and will sacrifice people to not have to deal with people who have unregulated emotions.
I realized that we have never belonged. Not truly. We’ve wanted it so much for others, so we strove for others. When achieving became the most important thing, it became exhausting and we lose ourselves. I’m out quicker than Jake bc my gifts are discarded first. This past year we were alone, a lot. And we got attacked.
But we were rooted enough in ourselves to say: Hell, no! We have worked too hard and sacrificed so much. No, you will not treat us this way. We are not people you run over.
We left. As quickly as we came.
God sent us home to a place where we can belong, too. To a people who love us just bc, not for what we can do. It’s life-changing. And we still want to offer our gifts.
This is my epiphany on this Epiphany Day. I think we can create a community that doesn’t have to crash, and we can stay included with relationships flourishing.
Side note: it’s a Friday in January and we are hanging out and relaxing. This is rare. Soccer starts later here. Instead of reading the paper, we are reading our phones.