Who would you be if you knew people were for you?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"I wonder if this is what we all need - more than lectures about the places in our life where we might be failing or falling apart.  More than finger pointing and criticism, or even well-intentioned advice.  I wonder if what we need, more than anything, is for someone to tell us we're going to 'make it.'  No matter where we are in our journey, or what has gone wrong, I wonder if what we really need are people who are waiting for us, without judgment, willing to say, 'Do what you need to do.  I'll be here when you make it.'"

- Packing Light, Allison Vesterfelt

People are for each other in my new town.

My husband first noticed it at a bike park designed for professional riders.  He would watch someone not as fit bring an "uncool" bike to the track, and pro riders would hold back to cheer him on, clapping his back when he finished the course.  Not only would pros speak to the little kids scooting around them, they offered tips for improvement, or helped a mom unload her kids' bikes.  There was no line between "professional" and "amateur" at the bike parks.  If you show up, you belong.

I've seen the same attitude among mothers.  

"You're such a good mama."  "Good for you for noticing what your child needs."  "I'm so impressed by how calm you are."  "I get it - I've been there."  And my favorite:  "Don't worry honey.  School starts next week."  Everywhere I go, I hear mothers encouraging one another.  Even among strangers, there is a camaraderie on playgrounds and in grocery stores.  Yesterday I had a last minute parents meeting at my children's co-op.  There was no time to plan for childcare, so I took four children to a business meeting in the middle of the baby's nap time.  One of the other mothers also had toddlers, and we took turns listening to the administrator, watching our toddlers run behind us, and changing diapers.  She was a stranger, but we were in it together.  

People are for each other in my new town, and it changes my internal landscape completely.

Recently, my historically restless baby woke up every single hour throughout the night.  At four a.m., when I heard him cry again, I thought, "You know what?  I haven't been impatient once tonight.  That's a win!"  Six months ago, I would have thought, "Why won't he sleep?  What am I doing wrong?"  Because people are for me, I no longer internalize every problem. Maybe his sleep isn't about me, maybe it is.  Either way, I can feel good about my response.  Before I moved into this community, though, I would have never recognized anything good about that moment at all.

When you know others believe in what you are doing, and are convinced you are doing it well, you trust yourself more.  You are braver and more confident.  When you already know you belong, you are free from the fear of isolation and failure.  You can think more clearly and make better decisions.  You recognize your own victories, and criticize yourself less often.

People are for each other in my community, and my life is better because of it. 

Who would you be if you knew people were for you?  

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Don't forget about A Wide Mercy's first give-away!  Leave a comment on Facebook or Twitter, and tell us your "packing light" stories.  I'll draw the winner of Allison's Vesterfelt's new book, "Packing Light:  Thoughts on Living LIfe with Less Baggage" on Saturday.  


  1. if only the world was our community. (and we were for each other)

  2. That's awesome! I've definitely noticed a different attitude out here. I am thriving here. <3

  3. I'm loving hearing about your new life in Colorado!

  4. It took me a long time to find that, but I'm amazed at how much it changed my world view once I did. I'm glad you've found it as well!



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