I talked about how we should be spending the first part of our transformation growing, listening, and learning in Part 1 of this series: Who We Were Meant to Be.
Then, I explained pursuing what is good in the final stage of our metamorphosis in Part 2: Being True and Good to Ourselves.
I was so passionate about this third and final part that I went into my default writing mode, which leans toward a more academic style. But, that speaks BORING. So never mind that. If you really want to see what I wrote at the start, I’ve left it at the end of this post. Instead, I’ve decided to tell some stories that I hope will drive my point home.
A few years back, I got the insatiable impetus to write. I know, I’ve mentioned that a number of times, now. But, it’s really important. The calling to talk about love was strong and didn’t go away. It came at a time when my life was falling apart. I felt I had little understanding of love. If anything, I miscalculated, didn’t get much, and felt much pain and betrayal from alleged “love.”
I don’t remember how this commission to write came about. No one whispered anything in my ear. There was no flashing of light. I just knew it had to be about love in a real, tangible way. When I first started, I was writing in the form of non-fiction, but that wouldn’t reach a broad audience quite as easily. So, I switched over to writing fiction.
And it was during this turbulent time (of my life) that I was pregnant with twins. Anything could go wrong with carrying multiples. But, a doula, who had heard about my situation, volunteered to be my laboring support. And, I also had a midwife by my side, who advocated for my needs, desires, and the twins and my well-being and safety. Though I had asked for no medication to manage pain and I didn’t think I could grimace my way through delivering the twins, bringing them into the world was smooth and without complication. Having a community of support around me had a crucial role to play there.
When the twins were born, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get everything done. I was recovering from delivering babies and nursing them every two hours. But, my oldest was going to a charter school that took over half-an-hour’s drive, door to door. And, I had another child in preschool at a different school, a few mornings a week. I wasn’t ready to give up various commitments I had made for the sake of the kiddos. Yet, I could see how everything was going to turn out navigating things on my own. I was going to do a mediocre, crappy job. I’d be downright exhausted from not resting enough to recover and from stopping multiple times to and from the eldest’s school to nurse babies and change diapers.
A friend volunteered to take my oldest to and from school for that first year, to take a load off and to give me time to recover. She also invited us to join her family on holidays. And we came as we were, sadness, tears, dirty diapers, and all. That friend is a forever friend and family, now. Thanks to her and her family, I didn’t do horribly. And that time in my life didn’t go down in flames. It will be remembered fondly, as a time where we were taken in and loved. All because of community.
And now, I want to provide that community of love and support for others, through my writing.
How has community —whether friends, acquaintances, or family — supported or loved you?
Below is the original, “academic” version of the post.
But, here, in the last part, Part 3, I want to emphasize that pursuing things that bring out individual personalities is not enough.
As fully transformed individuals or butterflies ready to take flight, we have a job to do. It’s a VIJ, a Very Important Job. Each of us has a unique role to play in that VIJ.
We’re supposed to encourage others to do the same and guide them as they figure out who they are and what is good for them.
We’re being asked to be ambassadors, representing and presenting what is important.
So far as I can tell, my part in the Very Important Job involves:
- Building interpersonal relationships. I encourage and walk alongside others, whether the relating involves parent to child, peers, or crowds of acquaintances and strangers. I listen, cook a meal for someone else, meet people where they are.
- Writing. Through my works of fiction (a series in magical realism), I share how hope, love, and wonder are possible, in the midst of trials, trying circumstances, complicated relationships, and challenges juggling life.
So, art of the transformation is about us as individuals. But the other half, a super important one, requires bringing your gifts and abilities to a community and connecting with people, in a real and tangible way.
I don’t think we can truly be at our best, until we’re in community with others.