day 30/40: #40shoutouts40days

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Dear Glennon Doyle Melton,

Forgive me. I haven’t pre-ordered Love Warrior. Actually, I haven’t even skimmed Carry On, Warrior. Truthfully, I didn’t know you existed until a few months ago because life just gets away from a mom with busy toddlers. I try to cover the basics before getting lost reading. Some days I don’t even get dressed so reading is definitely out. As soon as I make it through the six other books on my night stand, you’re up. I swear.

I don’t know your story in depth but I believe you are the final inspirational writer who deserves a salute before I transition to another collective of extraordinary folk.

So I’m living in this little Scottish seaside bubble called St Andrews. It’s a tiny town brimming with people who are far from home. My family is among the alien population. We uprooted from Canada five years ago so that my husband could study here. Now we’re approaching the end of our stay, preparing to return to the Real World in July. I’m terrified to leave.

Okay, maybe not terrified. I’m looking forward to jovial reunions with friends and family and I’m dying to binge on sushi but I am absolutely dreading the reverse culture shock. I predict I’ll feel isolated and dislocated. I’m not certain I can handle North American living anymore. I will sorely miss this place.

I’m already grieving the upcoming loss of our community. These people belong to me. We are a ragtag cast. Often it feels like we have little in common but what we share  is the important stuff and it tethers us together. We’re on a lonely road and we need each other.

We arrived here vulnerable, plucked from our comfort zones with little more than what we packed in our suitcases. The mutual vulnerability in St Andrews is a catalyst for connection. People forge relationships quickly here, for better or for worse. Everyone has very real needs and there are few by-standers. Almost no one has family and friends to call on. The people who are settled keep their eyes out for the new arrivals and help them get on their feet. No one feels silly asking for help. Few people have cars, budgets are tight. Without each other, we couldn’t survive, let alone thrive. I don’t remember living this way in Canada.

But here’s the thing. Nearly everyone back at home has the very same emotional needs and the potential to thrive by asking for help but people don’t like feeling needy. Pride gets in the way and comfort zones and social norms are cozy and everyone is so damn busy all the time. It’s hard to ask for help in that climate.

So, Glennon, when I read about your TogetHERrising project, I caught a glimmer of hope. You’re creating something that gets me fired up, like maybe this picture of random people looking out for one another in love is possible on a larger scale, not just in this seaside bubble.

Thank you for going first and getting vulnerable. Thank you for creating a space for people to declare their needs in faith that people care and thank you for mobilizing folks to respond to needs – simple or complex, big or small. You’ve created a culture of generosity. There’s so much more to life than getting by on our own.

Finally, thank you for your thoughtful and honest words about messy life. I like you and your big heart, girl. I’ll get to your books, I promise. Just six more to go first.

xx,

E

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