The Village Around Me

Sunday morning I had the chance for a quiet têtê-à-têtê with a friend from my childhood. As we sat at the little table by the window, sipping our coffee and discussing our grown up problems, I smiled to myself.  How lucky I am to have this friendship that remains after distance and silence and lives that moved in different ways. I listened to him, and he to me, and there was comfort and peace and home in our words.

Later that day I met up with more friends from years long passed. We sat at a bigger table near a brighter window. We shared laughter and encouragement and silent understanding. I know only a tiny piece of each of their stories – and they amaze me. I looked around that table and realized THIS is where the story of Wonder Woman came from. It was born in women like the ones surrounding me at this moment. These are the women who have been pushed down, cast aside, and they simply dust off their boots, straighten their tiara and march into battle again. Now they stand firm, never to be cast aside again. These women inspire me with their strength, their willingness to help each other, and their courage to ask for help when it’s needed.

A couple of days later, at a table with no window, I sat with three fascinating women whom I adore (we’re usually five, but have to make do with 4 of us for now). The sisterhood that has formed among us is empowering. As one vented about pending struggles, the comments back focused on how to relieve some of the stress. While we acknowledge familiar pains, we strive more to be problem solvers for each other – as if we’ve formed our own think-tank. I close my eyes and see us linked, arm-in-arm like a game of Red Rover. Let anyone try to get through us – they will never succeed! Our tribe is devoted, loving, and fierce.

One more day passed and I find myself again in the company of a friend. At a couch in a basement we found a little space to be us. I got to spend (brief) time with a woman who was once a stranger to me. It struck me that in our years of growing together she has gifted to me an acceptance that is freeing beyond measure. What an amazing treasure I have in her.

Through all of these days I’ve talked with Truth. No table. No window. Just words between us. Exposed, vulnerable, honest words. There is light conversation, jovial exchanges, witty barbs, and a raw authenticity in who we are. I forget what it was like in the time before Truth.

This is my village. These are the people in my neighborhood. When I first moved to this area – with no family, no friends, no job – I never imagined the life I would have now. I am grateful to have these people, and so many others, in my life, by my side, on my side.

My village is my sanctuary.

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