I’m late on writing something I promised some people. It’s burning a hole in the back of my mind. I have so much I want to say… and nothing to write — at the moment.
The thought that does come up in my mind is: I’m surrounded by good people. I left church this past year. For the first time in 26 years, I made the decision to stop attending Sunday service, unless I wanted to. I know, for now, that is the best decision for me.
Recently, because of my nonexistent church attendance, someone asked me if I have a community around me to support me. I thought carefully. Did I?
And I responded, with a firm Yes.
I elaborated. Yes, I do have people that support me, love me, encourage me, teach me, embrace me. I do have a group of people I can be real with, people that want to listen to me, hear me out. I have people who are more than okay with my vulnerability and rawness. I have people who want the best, only the best, for me. I have people who will fight for me, defend me, and protect me. These people respect me and honor me with their friendship. They understand me, and when they don’t, they open their ears and heart in order to.
They are my safe space outside of myself, the place I go to when I’m feeling alone or need a sounding board for my ideas and feelings.
My people know who they are. Because they will feel the way I feel about them. If you feel that you could flip what I said above around in our friendship, you are my church. I don’t know if I’m yours, that’s up to you. But those I’m calling out right now, I’m proud to say you’re a part of mine. We don’t meet every week, we don’t say prayers, we don’t sing.
The encouragement, the daily/weekly/even monthly text messages say everything. Hearts can’t deny, the “I’m for you”-ness, the “I gotchu”s. The way we lift each other up. Those are our prayers.
The crazy get-togethers that last for hours, with endless fits of laughter, sometimes tears, and always realness and appreciation. The way we see the best in each other, the potential, the dreams manifested. The way we push each other further, faster, stronger, better. The way we want to change the world together, to reach heights only our minds can dream of, to become people of grace, generosity, courage, and strength. The way we enjoy each other’s company. This is our worship.
I could totally see this sounding blasphemous to people. It would have sounded questionable a year ago, six months ago. But I can’t deny. I’ve seen the purest of friendships, the deepest of exchanges occur outside of religious quarters, exclusive of where I had been taught to find my lifelong connections and relationships. I’ve watched myself heal from wounds caused within the community I grew up in, and thrive among people who breathe and speak love, rather than talk about it.
I’m not judging anyone. I’m calling it as I’ve experienced it. I don’t need to explain anything and nothing needs an explanation.
I am surrounded by amazing people. It’s taken some time for me to realize and someone once told me a while back — you know who you are — but I know now, I make my own luck. I realize I am able to have these relationships because I have become that person for them as well. It’s a two way street. And I’m honored to call those friends my friends, to be called friend by them.