I didn’t know I needed a tribe. Somewhere inside I guess I did. It’s a core desire for humans. When God placed His image in us, and particularly, placed eternity in our hearts, He instilled an irrefutable desire to be part of a tribe. We need each other.
Part of my journey through this next stage of life included meeting with a registered dietician (RD). So earlier this week, I enjoyed a silent drive to Chattanooga to an eclectic sort of neighborhood. It was a cross between indie-culture, coffee-shop folk, southern family, and the ghetto. Five minutes into our appointment, the RD made me cry. Those who know me, know that I don’t cry much or well. Those who know me best, know that I’m a crier to the core of my being. This professional’s concluding recommendations included finding a tribe. She crossed a line.
For most of my life, I have staunchly held a belief that I don’t need others. I don’t need a tribe. Labels I have long owned seem to have allowed me to pull away and wallow in my oddities, my brokenness. My tribe, I surmised, would have to include people:
-who are hopelessly unable to participate in small talk
-who can handle intense, long conversations
-who can drink a boat load of coffee
-who can bounce from one idea to the next covering at least a million different topics
-who can, who can.
Wait. I’ve labeled even the definition and function of tribe. Let’s peel that label up a bit. A tribe, simply labeled, is a human social group. We are human. We are social in one way or another. My tribe grows deep as I allow others to experience me as is, no warranty, no thirty day money back guarantee. I’ve had a tribe all along, I just don’t engage with it.
My tribe is you. With no expectations or judgments, if we meet, you are my tribe. Christian or not, married or not, straight or not, like me or not, we’re in this together, and the labels need to drop so we can experience and explore the creative diversity of compassion, of authentic life in the tribe.