In our community we speak ALL the time about the value of having a tribe. We write about it in our blog posts. We encourage families who come in to meet with us privately to find a community for support and a place where they can find purpose. NO ONE has EVER given us any lip about this. Not one single human being has ever said, “You guys are nuts!”
For context, please understand the various things people have given us feedback on over the years - which, by the way, we appreciate. How else will we learn and grow and improve our serve, but here are a few things that people have felt the need to call, write or meet with us to help us improve ourselves and community over the years. People complain about: the fact that we respect the 12-step process and mutual aid societies (we are not Christian enough), the fact that we are Christians (we are not recovered enough), the fact that neither Scott nor I are in recovery for a Substance Use Disorder, the location of our building, the fact that we have a building, the fact that we didn’t get a building soon enough, the fact that we didn’t choose a different building, the fact that we study the enneagram (we are devil worshipers and we do not understand salvation), the color of the carpet/the walls, people are too friendly, people are not friendly enough, the kind of chairs we use, snow cancellations, FAILURE to cancel, the time we meet, the number of meetings we hold (too few/too many), the particular scripture verse we chose in a message, the LACK of a scripture verse in the message, a particular book we quote, our Family Education Program (families don’t have a problem, why should you ask us to come to a meeting...just tell me what to do over the phone), our music (too loud, too quiet, not a person’s preferential style), our coffee (too strong, to weak), our food (too much, too little, not considerate of dietary restrictions) Teresa/Scott are too direct/indirect/naive/uninformed and more, how many times we send out emails and the content of said emails (too often/not often enough/bad graphics/mistakes in grammar and spelling/forgetting key details)....to name a few. Notice that many of these are legitimate complaints. There are many others, but this I think gives you a flavor for our feedback.
So when I tell you that NOT ONE SINGLE HUMAN BEING HAS EVER IN ALMOST 20 YEARS GIVEN US PUSHBACK ABOUT THE NEED FOR FINDING AND INTEGRATING INTO A TRIBE.
That is significant.
This raises a HUGE question: why do so many of us continue to struggle with loneliness? Why do we have trouble figuring out how to be “part of”? I do not know. I have a few theories. I want to explore what it would look like to be a “success” within a community of people for a few days and see if we can figure some of this out. Remember - we all seem to agree that a community SHOULD be a good thing for us day to day. Because I have funerals on my mind, I am wondering about this: at the end of the day, at the end of our life, wouldn’t it be a lovely thing to have a community gather that sincerely is going to miss our presence? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a final gathering of loving folks who knew and loved us for who we authentically and imperfectly were? Wouldn’t that be the greatest success of all? Only people with tribes get tributes like that.