Find your Tribe
Last Sunday, I had the scare of my life as I was driving to meet friends in Birmingham for church. I was in an accident and the car, my lovely alien green Kia Soul, rolled over. Thankfully, I am fine. Sadly, the bright green car is not. I tend to worry about every little detail in life, but Sunday, I was unable to. Shock has a way of doing that, I suppose.
Thankfully, I have a core group of friends who live in the Birmingham area. Thankfully I had no passengers. Thankfully my phone fell out of the car and was at my feet when I was able to stand up. I’m just thankful. I have realized something looking back on the events of Sunday as I remember them. The main thing is that my friends and I are all so very different that I am not sure how we get along… at all. Michelle is loud, inquisitive, demanding and kept questioning everything that the doctors or nurses were doing. They all loved her, I’m sure. She’s actually a lovely person; she just likes to know ALL the details. Kristi, quiet and observant, had a joke about everything and everyone. Her one-liners kept us all laughing. Meanwhile, Tiffany did her best to make sure everyone had their needs met. Caffeine? Chocolate? Nail polish? A bottle of water? She is always so together.
They kept me company until my parents and husband could get from Washington County to Birmingham. Since then, I have thought about how much each of them mean to me and how many years of friendship we share.
Kristi and I have known each other long before the invention of the Internet. We met in 1991 at WorldSong, the Alabama Baptist Camp in Cook Springs. I think she’s a genius and I love the way she loves all of the 500 kids she sees daily in her PE classes. She and I have always been kindred spirits in our love for nature, good books, deep conversation, Whitney’s music and 1990’s Saturday Night Live skits. We value laughter and small circles.
I’ve only known Tiffany for 3 years, but I honestly don’t remember what life was like without her. She is a bookworm, a writer, a deep thinker and a worrier as I am. Each of us has a collection of journals and a stack of books to be read. We share a love for antiques, greeting cards and farmhouse chic décor. We are keenly aware of awkwardness and have just decided to embrace it. Life’s better this way. We value intentionality and trustworthiness.
Michelle. I don’t know where to begin with this one. We’ve always been polar opposites, but we love each other deeply. We also met at WorldSong, but in 1997. She was wearing overalls and had just spilled a gallon of pink paint. I was probably wearing overalls, too and I decided to help her clean it up. In every major life event since we met, we’ve had each other’s back. She does not understand why I love living a rural life, but she respects it and keeps close to her conveniences. She is the first to tell me how ridiculous I’m being and one of the last people I’d ever want to disappoint. I feel as comfortable sitting around her family’s table as I do my own. We value brutal honesty and artsy things.
I value each of these ladies on any given day, but last Sunday they demonstrated that they care for me as well. I knew this already, but anyone willing to go get your things out of your car that’s been rolled multiple times truly loves you. There is no organization in this situation and these three are organized individuals (for the most part). Because I like to think I’m in control of situations, the fact that they were willing to do this bothered me at first. Then I remembered, I’d do the same for any of them, even if they, as I did, said not to. Kristi and Michelle designated themselves as the cleaners of the car. Tiffany stayed with me at the hospital while they did this. I wasn’t much for conversation, but it was good to have a gentle, quiet friend close. Meanwhile, my camp friends returned and made fun of my collection of tote bags that they gathered from my car. Work bag, church bag, overnight bag, makeup bag, camera bag, backpack, new bag that I bought that weekend… They had plenty of material to work with! It’s true. I have plenty of baggage, but I’m so thankful for the tribe that loves me enough to help me unload it…literally and figuratively.
Find your tribe.
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Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.