The Greatest Gift of Tribe
“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It's about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.” Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table It was last Thursday night, when a scene from my favorite show completely took my emotions by surprise. The camera focused in on a gathering of friends, dining alfresco in a Mediterranean garden. I think it was the combination of the scenery, sweet music, plates filled with colorful food, friends laughing and wine glasses clinking that made me long to be there. How could it not, these friends were having an idyllic shared experience, the stuff I live for. The exact thing I had written months before in my Wholehearted & Courageous bio. The host continued on as he wrapped up the show and recapped his time in Italy, the land of love. All the quintessential Italian landmarks filled the screen. One after another, a montage of scenes showed friends, new and old greeting each other, kissing on each cheek, embracing, cooking and sharing more meals together. The host says with many timely pauses, “Time falls away, friends become family and family is everything. Here, there is passion for place, for people, for art, beauty, food and love. This is Italy.” I found my heart swelling as the tears welled up in my eyes, surprised at the emotion coming over me. I could feel the magical warmth of humanity and love come straight through the TV screen. I could see the hearts of the people as they graced each other’s presence, so open, safe, so full of joy. They had created the space and time for the beauty of friendship to happen. Since then I’ve watched this episode of, I’ll have what Phil’s having - Italy, two more times. The second time I saw it with my husband and I fully let the tears fall. I know very well what these shared experiences feel like. Not too long ago, they were happening in our home with friends in Redding and years before that with family and friends in L.A.. We are gatherers. Watching and feeling this episode made it crystal clear that I have an affinity for shared experiences. From sharing a yummy meal, to playing Cards against humanity (no judging allowed), balderdash if you prefer, or going out for dessert. Quality time is my favorite. It's one hundred times better if we’re laughing, sharing our dreams or truth telling. It was also clear that my heart was ready to experience this in our new space and place, the tears were my proof. We’ve been in Sacramento since September and it’s been a season of settling in, finding our bearings, and jumping into everything new. We’ve learned the area and are starting to feel like this is home. But for me, it’s not truly home until we find our people. People make home, home. The wonderful thing is that we've met some incredible people here. And now, more than ever, I’m feeling most ready to create a space both in my home and outside of my home where people come together. I’m especially ready to introduce new friends to Wholehearted & Courageous, to create that safe zone, a place of warmth and freedom. A place where each woman gets to bring herself fully to the table, just as she is. Because I know full well that in this space we’ll see each other, like really see each other. We'll honor each ones sacred story. We'll light up with inspiration, we’ll be messy, get triggered, laugh till we cry and cry when it hurts. And to me, that's what home feels like, the place where you can be your most truest self. If you’re already a part of the Wholehearted & Courageous Tribe then you know exactly what I’m talking about, you've experienced most everything in the paragraph above and all of it is good, so good. Now, I’m reaching out to you, sisters. Would you cover us? Would you gather around the women from the three new groups staring up this month (and next) by praying and speaking life, freedom and wholeness over us? I know you're in our corner, so thank you. The courageous ones expanding the Wholehearted & Courageous tent pegs are Sheila Brinkman, Sarah Scripture and myself. We are excited and we know God goes before us, preparing all of us for the journey. I anticipate that one day, all of Wholehearted & Courageous will gather somewhere and have one really big shared experience together. Whether we're in Hawaii, Texas, or Italy, it doesn't really matter. Ok let's be real, it kinda matters, we're coming for you Hawaii! One thing's for sure, I know there'll be one big dance floor or place where we can dance like wild women. Because this is how we do in W&C, we celebrate, we let our hair down, we make room for each other and we love big. It's the shared experience and everything that happens in between, it's the being with each other that is greatest gift.