My recent pondering….it’s not a new topic, or new ideas… just thoughts that have been swimming around in my head, and heart, for a bit from reading post after post about tribes and villages and circles, so I thought I’d put words to what, and how, I’m currently processing…
With all the divisive speech and sides being taken over ideals ranging from the highly emotional to the simply mundane, I find myself desiring more and more to know and, to some degree, define my place. I have several titles that could lend themselves to particular niches such as, Christian, Mom, homeschooler, conservative….but these can sometimes feel cold, like they might be some closed door category I’m allowed to be a part of, and I don’t know anyone who wants to be categorized!
What I want is a warm and inviting space…..I’m picturing the way it feels with a group of family or friends on a large couch, front porch, or around a kitchen table…where not everyone there is a mirror image of myself, which would become very boring, but instead a collection of people that are joy filled, interesting, inviting, not moral opposites looking to spar, but individuals all looking to love others, accepting that none of us will do that perfectly, but all willing to admit that the other is perhaps trying, not faulting them, or shutting the door when they fall short.
I’m fatigued by polarizing ideals that draw hard lines in the proverbial sand keeping ‘groups’ divided, which I understand to some degree are inevitable when you dive into topics like abortion…you either do or you don’t…there is no middle ground, and while I am a proud supporter of life, I have people in my life whom I love dearly, that are not. We can still love each other. We can still enjoy a week long visit and long talks over coffee without hatred or anger toward each other. But I digress. I’m talking topics that should not be polarizing like breastfeeding vs formula, feeding in public vs private, homeschool vs not, trendy vs last season, carrier mom vs daycare, oily life vs antibiotics, vaccine vs anti-vac…. People… moms… we gasp when we hear how awful kids can be to each other, how hate speech is starting so young, and bullying is driving kids to depression and worse, but step back and watch a group of adults. Watch and listen to a group of moms as their gossiping prey’s on a weaker of their kind….
“She babies him.” .….. “I heard they spank with a spoon.” …... “It’s probably because she’s ‘homeschooled’.” …… “Did you see that kid’s outfit?” …… “She must of just rolled our of bed! Did you see her!?” …… “That kid needs medicine.” …… “If that were my kid….” …… “I would never give my baby formula.” …… “I would be so embarrassed if my kids ever…..” ……“Can you believe she’s still nursing a two year old?” …… “She’s such a helicopter mom.” …… “She lets her kids do anything!” ….. “You vaccinate?”….. “You don’t?!”…
And on and on the commentary goes.
It sounds awful when you see these snippets like this….a few actually hurt to type…but tell me you’ve never heard another adult talk like this. Making fun of, or at the expense of, another mom, or worse, another child. Children can be cruel to each other, but honestly, so can adults.
So here I stand, a Christian, conservative, biological and adoptive, homeschool mom trying to figure out who my people are. Many of my friends are Christians because we share similar ideals of right and wrong, we run in similar circles with church functions and activities, and our kids are friends. I have groups of friends who are homeschoolers which I love. We are like minded about our children’s education. We are able to discuss struggles and curriculum and meet for ‘field trips’ in the middle of the traditional school day and pretty much have the place to ourselves. I’ve never chosen to make or leave a friend based on political affiliation, but based on what you see on social media, I know people are ditching friends right and left who don’t see things the way they do. It’s sad.
Parents who have it all together. Parents who “stumble in to drop kids off at school looking like they’ve been attacked by a flock of angry birds”. Parents who yell. Parents who spank. Parents who gently correct. Moms who breastfeed, formula feed, or use donated breast milk. Homeschool, private school, or public school families. Adoptive, birth, special needs…. Moms of superstars, moms of kids with ADHD, moms of the book worm or ones struggling to read…. People, at the end of the day, did you love them well? Then YOU are my people. In all our glorious mess, our failures, our successes and our ‘meh’ attempts….the ones who get up each day, hoping and praying for another good day, or most times, for a better day, but always loving…you are MY people!! Solidarity!
1 Cor 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love- and the greatest of these is love.