Two weeks ago I wrote about a difficult time in my life, and I talked about the people who were there for me, my tribe.
This week someone who has been an important part of my family’s life since my childhood passed away. His family and his friends came together to celebrate his life and to support each other as they grieved. It was moving. He made such a lasting impact on those who knew and loved him.
His funeral was in the church where I grew up, and it was filled beyond capacity with his tribe. So many of the people were also my tribe as I grew up. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of nostalgia and gratitude for the many, many people who have been part of my life over almost five decades. The pastor who confirmed me and who married me was there. The men and women who taught me in Sunday School, in confirmation, who spent New Year’s Eve with my parents, who helped raise me and then helped my own children when they were tiny were there. Those people were as excited about Kelsey’s first steps as I was. They were at my wedding, and a year ago they were at her wedding.
Life is made up of a series of people who come in and out of our lives over time. I have friends who I have known since I was fighting them for the lead role in our third grade musical, since I sat beside them on a bale of hay in my sophomore musical, and since I spent many nights with no sleep as four of us packed into one bed for a sleepover. I have friends I’ve known since we lived together in college. They’ve seen me at best and my worst. So many different people helped me become who I am.
As an adult, our tribes grow. Now I have friends I’ve met through work. Now I have friends with whom I’ve shopped and camped and traveled and spent more date night nights with than you could imagine. I have friends I text everyday who send me pictures of sunsets and their children and who make me smile when days are hard. I have friends who make me laugh in meetings, who take me to lunch, and who read my writing and let me read theirs. I have friends who pray for me and who ask me to pray for them. I have friends who understand me sometimes better than I understand myself, who push me to be my best, to learn more than I thought possible, to ignore and avoid when appropriate and to prioritize and sleep when appropriate. And I have friends who send me sugar candy through work mail for no particular reason. My tribe is amazing!
Look around this week. You are surrounded by those people as well. Notice them. Appreciate them. Thank them.