It was obvious he was upset. He walked through the house with his head hanging down. The summer had been long, boring, and lonely. COVID-19 sucked most of the fun out of a usually busy, friend-filled season. “Mama,” he whispered, “I just miss my friends.” Tears ran down my oldest son’s cheeks. I sat beside him on the couch and hugged him.
“Let’s brainstorm and figure out ways to hang out with our friends but also social distance,” I replied. “We need our friends. We need our people.” And we thought about it. Soon, we started walking and meeting friends to play outside. We had picnic lunches and playground time. My son’s whole demeanor changed, and summer became summer again.
As I thought about my son’s summer realization, I had my own epiphany: I need my people, too. For a long time, I kept my friends at arm’s length. They came to me to ask advice, seek prayer, or share secrets but rarely did I reach out and confide in them in return.
It’s different now. Through this year of my husband’s cancer I had to learn how to drop my pride and ask for help. I had to ask for prayer and seek advice from my friends. Shoulders got leaned on, hugs happened often, and tears weren’t held back. Many friends met me in my broken moments. Other friends held me when I couldn’t stand. So many others followed God’s promptings, called, and prayed for me. I can honestly say I can’t imagine experiencing this year without my friends. My people. My tribe. They lifted me up and carried me. They held my hand and reassured me. And when I had completely forgotten the words, they reminded me how to sing the song.
Just like my son, we need our friends. We need our people. We need a place where we can just be. A place where pajamas and mismatched socks are welcome. A place where we can laugh or cry without question. Where tears are a common language and God is our forever bond. A place of trust, kindness, humility, and growth. A place of acceptance. Hope. Friendship. Love.
I’m so grateful for my tribe. The ones who have my back. The ones I can count on. The one who make life worth living. And I’m grateful for a God who designed us for community and life just like this. May we never take for granted the friends he plants at our side. Our friends. Our people. Our tribe.