Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Tribe

Over at Grown in My Heart someone wrote an article called Tribe. The article goes on to talk to adoptive parents about how they should have a tribe of other adoptive parents in their lives also.

But that is not what this is about.

It is about the tribes in our lives.

The article defines tribes this way:

"According to Merriam-Webster, a tribe can be defined as, “a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with slaves, dependents, or adopted strangers,” or “a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest.” Seth Godin further explains the importance of tribes, the need to connect, and how it is human nature to join them.

A tribe has tribal wisdom, communal wisdom. Members of the tribe can share that wisdom with one another. A tribe has its own culture, rules of exchange and beliefs. The Internet has made joining a tribe even easier. Physical and geographical barriers no longer exist. You can belong to a tribe that has members scattered all over the globe.

Stop and make a mental list of the tribes you are part of, for example, your family, friends, a book club, or a political party. Why do you feel compelled to be part of this group? What do they do for you? How do they support you?"

I have many different tribes in my life. Moving around so much can make it a little more complicated than someone who has the same tribes most of their life....but with work all tribes are possible.

I hope all of you have tribes also.

Now, to turn the tables a little....

I have one incredibly amazing tribe that makes no sense outside of GOD. It's all him. We are so diverse and different that it could be nothing other than God holding it all together.

Because its not just a tribe of women. Its a SAFE tribe. We can bare our hearts and souls and receive nothing but love and support. NOTHING but love and support. How often do you see that in a group of 11 women??? Non-related women.

How about never?

And there is one thing that makes me sad about our tribe.

Every time we get together, we have to keep things under wraps. We can't sing to the treetops about the great time we have. We can't celebrate out loud.

Why not?

Because there are several CHRISTIAN women who want to make trouble for us.

EVERY time.

I still don't get it to this day even though its been over 2 years that this has been a problem. And I hate seeing my girls worried about how this weekend is going to be talked about behind our backs - about what is going to be said this time. Worried about the damage that will be done at church by women that are not part of the tribe. (Yes, I admit it, it doesn't bother me one little bit. But I don't work on committees or other groups that require me to interface with the ones trying to talk us down. )

Are they jealous? It's the only thing that makes sense. But even when I'm jealous of a close group, I don't tear it down or try to make trouble with others about them. I don't talk the kind of talk that is divisive IN CHURCH or other functions where some of the group might be present.

Well, Autumn, why don't you invite those women to be a part of your tribe?

That's so easy.

1. This group was put together by our Father - there is no question there. We've only added one person since the very very beginning.(And AS - you were a part from the very beginning even though you took a baby break -- never have figured out why you think you came along later?!)

2. These women have already proved themselves to be talky and catty in deed. Our group DOES NOT tear down the others. EVER. It's never even crossed our minds.

3. It would make our group UNSAFE.

4. We have put hours upon hours of our hearts and souls into each other and have grown into what we currently are. We WORKED for it. We've grown like we have based on that foundation and each encounter we have together. We have RELATIONSHIP.

So I do not believe that in order to make unhappy women happy, we should destroy the gift we have.

Does it make me exclusive?

No, I don't think it does. I'd be the first to encourage all women to find such a group. Which means to encourage them to put the blood, sweat and tears into a group of friends. To develop what we have developed over the last 3 years. To do THE WORK.

And that's what I think it really comes down to. Friendships require HARD WORK. It requires carving out time away from your family and your schedules to make that relationship important. And that requires God to step in on your behalf and do big work sometimes -- because 11 schedules in todays world? All 11 families with kids? That doesn't come together naturally. (And I have to throw in right here that we all have the best husbands on the face of the earth. Yes, we do!)

So friends, let me encourage you today to grow your own tribe if you don't have one that meets your "friendship" needs. It is so worth the effort. And it does take effort.

And don't look to "break into" a group that already exists. Make your own.

And take another look at the "exclusive" group if you've been a hater. Maybe its not about keeping others out. Maybe they aren't snobs (people, I have no reason in life to be a snob!!!). Maybe its a group that did the work and are now reaping the rewards. You didn't help build it so don't be in such a hurry to tear it down.

And if you just don't have the time to do that?

Well then.

Step off.

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