On life, stories, community, and speaking up in spite of it all

I thought as much.

It’s been nearly TWO YEARS since I wrote a blog post. Two YEARS!!! Hello, dear readers, I’ve missed you!

I’d likely, under other circumstances, spend a paragraph or two explaining myself, telling you all about those two years, and why life became so insanely busy that I neglected the hobby that most closely aligns with my passions–writing, stories, people–but in all honesty, they are not all stories I am at liberty to tell.

There were three. All together. None really related, except by the common thread of my integral involvement, and by the fact that, by the end of each Friday I found myself collapsing into bed with nothing more than a deep desire to clean my kitchen and hibernate from the world. It was okay. Everything resolved, as things do, and I’m only reminded now of how crazy those two years really were by the fact of this newly-discovered sense of life, purpose, vision, that was buried under the bedclothes of my mind.

I learned a lot. You tend to learn a lot in those crucible times, and a lot of it I’m still unpacking, sifting through, figuring out the deeper truths, and the bits I just got kinda wrong.

You know sometimes it’s hard to tell the truths from the bits you got wrong? When you actually and honestly and truly believe that Milwaukee is a state of the USA, or that Elvis IS alive and living in the basement of Coles Supermarket…but that’s another story.

But the thing…the number one thing I learned in this season, the thing I feel like I’m only just beginning to unpack, is the importance of Community.

I HAD IT WRONG, ALL THESE YEARS.

Community is where it’s at. More than achieving goals in life, more than dreams, vision, career…more than clean kitchens or boxes ticked. Other people…and our proximity to them. Working together, through the good times and the crazy times. Finding people to be real with, and being real with them. Getting angry with people–and letting them get angry with you–and still being okay. Speaking up, even when I’m scared of what I have to say.

This is my journey.

It’s been harder than I’d like to admit.

This isn’t a particularly inspiring blog post. I’ve been wanting to find some gold nugget, something really pithy to share, to launch back into blogging with some kind of…I don’t know…purpose! meaning! but not today. And I guess that’s the point really, as well. It’s not about achievement, doing the best, kicking all the goals or going home defeated. It’s about showing up, regardless.

This is me, showing up, regardless.

My goal for now is to start blogging again. Regardless of what I have–or haven’t got–to say. Because…people. Because community. Because…speaking up.

My friend Gill was here last week, who astounds me in her incredible ability to build and grow community around her (no she hasn’t written a book about it yet…I’m watching and taking notes from the sidelines). As she went, she hugged me and said, “Keep communicating!”

I’m sure blogging isn’t exactly what she meant…but those two words ran deep.

So here you go, dear reader. My thanks to those who bore with me in the Great Silence, and my promise to…the world in general…to speak up. Not speak up for myself, because I have anything in particular to say, but because I’ve learned, these two years, that when I speak, when I tell my stories, I give other people around me permission to speak and to tell their stories also.

Your story matters, my friend. YOU matter. You deserve community as much as anybody, and your words deserve to be listened to as much as anybody else’s do.

When I hit “publish” on this, and “share”, it’s not for my own glory and self-justification. It’s to help remind YOU, wherever you’re at, that it doesn’t matter whether you think you’ve got anything valid to say or not, your words still matter.

I’ll be back next Saturday, hopefully being a bit braver than I’ve been today.

I’ll see you then…

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