I have such a love-hate relationship with spring football. Forcing myself to sit around in ninety degree heat, waiting in a pool of sunscreen grease for someone to need something is not exactly what I would call “fun.” Most days, a whole lot of sass surfaces because I just can’t deal with picking up another water bottle caked with dirt or taping a wrist that should have been taped in the training room… And then I pick up the bottles and tape the wrists anyway. My sassy alter ego finds something else to do, and I smile at all the players, happy to do anything they need because, well, I really do love them. They make me laugh. They melt my heart with their kindness. They cover me with all these forms of love every time I need it. They’re my people. At least during football season, we’re in life together, and we help each other make it.
They are all my favorite people, and some of them are my dearest friends. We get through homework and AP exams together. We help each other through insecurities, seasons of sadness, and things no one else seems to understand. We rarely know how to fix each other’s problems, but we listen, finding a way to love each other through it all. I couldn’t make it without them.
After all, it takes a village- a village of people you choose, people who choose you, and people you were born into. It takes countless people to make you who you are, and then it takes some more people to remake you into someone new. I would be a completely different person without my village. It’s not that I think my parents couldn’t have raised me completely on their own, but it has taken a lot of other people to make me understand so many of the lessons my parents have taught me.
Fortunately, our parents can’t teach us everything, so we get to develop these beautiful relationships with all kinds of people. We get to experience life alongside different people, and the village grows.
Andrew’s friendship helps me survive plays, and we have become neighbors, friends, family.
Madelyn and I spend hours working through brokenness, and she moves into my village and I hers.
Fish talks about life, about being bold, and his words become permanently etched on the walls of my home, my heart.
Michael comes in my room every morning so that I can do his hair, and whether he likes it or not, that nug is in my village. (He’s not allowed to leave. Ever.)
Rebecca is…well she’s pretty much everything-my friend, my sister, my happy place.
Hollis and Paige pass through my village often, sometimes staying longer than others, but always overflowing with gentleness and love.
Noah’s my best friend, and he’s the whole village at once, my go-to person when I can’t have everyone. (Thanks, love. You’re the absolute best.)
Asia and Chasity make my village fun, and they accept every part of me in a way no one else does.
Anna lives on the outskirts, not present everyday but never too far out of reach when I need her to make me laugh or tell me something bluntly.
DGreen left for a while, but he’s back now. He encourages my rebellious behavior, and I appreciate that so much.
Sarah Margaret is the cutest thing in the whole world, and I’m keeping her forever, simply because my entire existence is better when she’s around.
Daniel and I just help each other make it, no matter what, and I know we always have a home in each other’s village when we need it.
My village is made up of all my people- the ones who move in next door and the strangers who just pass through. My life has been uniquely impacted by each of them; my identity and beliefs all contain little pieces of all the people who have been a part of my life: a desire to serve from my dad, a contentedness with being there for people by sitting from my mom, an aching to play difficult characters from Owen, a habit of calling people “fam” from Mark, a love of quiet but constant friendship from Daniel, a need to practice true friendship from Madelyn, an open mind from Noah, an attempt to befriend and encourage from Rebecca, a passion for impacting the lives of others from Camille, a way to maintain friendship despite distance from Genesis, Kristine, and Christine, an acceptance for all people from everyone I’ve ever met.
We all need a village. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be human; we wouldn’t be empathetic, compassionate, extraordinary creatures. I hope your village grows each day, and I hope it is a place that never ceases to grow in acceptance. I hope it’s a place of love, a place of grace when brokenness hinders that love. I hope it is a welcoming place, a place of countless differences, a place where opinions and beliefs are questioned by those passing through. I hope it is a place of joy and laughter, and I hope it’s a land of rest and peace. I hope it allows friendship to overcome all differences. I hope your village, in each season of life, is made up of the people you need most. I hope you are graciously able to let go of people who are called to leave, people whose presence is needed in someone else’s village. I hope you have the pleasure of knowing some of the incredible people in my village. And, I hope your people love you as well as mine love me.