So, why? I'm been trying to figure that out for a while, and today it hit me.
|Austin skyline from the Congress Bridge|
I know it's a little weird, to spend months planning to get on a plane and fly across the country to meet 500 strangers- fellow invited launch team members- at a party- at the authors house. Weird because I don't know them. Any of them.
At least I didn't, then.
When I started hugging necks and sweating down S. Congress today- meeting up with 2, then 4, then 10, then more- talking and walking for blocks to get a 5lb donut they weren't strangers at all. These are my people, my tribe. My friends. I'm addicted to their news feed every morning because we pray for each other, and laugh at each other, and encourage each other, and do things because of each other, for other people we've never met before; because we doing community together from all over the county.
How does this happen?
I'm glad you asked.
I think it happened because we got to know each other's hearts long before we met.
And their hearts are beautiful. And real. And I know because I've seen them; broken and spilled out and full of overflowing joy. Visible through what we've shared honestly and freely. But it isn't an all is wonderful in our FTL launch world, sometimes it's not pretty at all. We share our anger and shame and frustration and fear and disappointment. We don't agree on everything. Sometimes we react, and we can be passionate over politics and our babies- whether they're in our arms, college dorms or stuck in the Conga.
Society screams that what we do, how we look and our status makes us worthy. It's pretty scary to reach out to strangers when you fear judgment on these things.
But this team- this place was about our hearts - not our jobs, where we live, how big or small our jeans are, the cars we drive, the positions we hold in our church's, how cute our husbands are or if we're introverts or extroverts. Sure, after six months we now talk bout those things too but it wasn't what defined us. I can't tell you where my launch members work, but I remember what broke their hearts and energized their service.
And because of that, we can honestly and sincerely cheer each other on to lose the extra pounds- go get the lump checked out- go for that job interview, brag on their Marine, fight for our marriages and step out in faith.
It's a beautiful thing.
And if it can happen with 500 people who hadn't ever met- don't you think it can happen in our communities? If we can just learn to love God and love people. Look past their shell, seeing their hearts first makes it easier to love and appreciate everything else about them.
This trip of a lifetime- is not just about meeting strangers.
It's about a man, who encouraged and supported me to leave town knowing he would be taking on so much more responsibility and stress while I'm away not to work, but to play and have fun. It's about two sisters taking a birthday trip to Texas to meet friends.
|Me, Tana & Nae- celebrating 50!|
and eat Tex-Mex. every where we go
and spend an afternoon in search of the coolest convenience store ever
and watch 1.5 million bats fly at dusk
and shop for cool boots
and party at the FarmHouse
We're doing our part to keep Austin weird.
|Batman- such a sweat guy.|
|Son of a Peach Gordough's Donut- Trailer Park Food Trucks|
|My story. Your story.|
|First pair of cowboy boots- has to be great store.|
|Presenting the best convenient store ever- Bastrop, TX|
I love you Rex for making this happen for me.
I love you Renee for sharing it with me.
I love my people for putting up with all the talk about this book, and loving me first. I only wish you could've experienced it from the inside.
We know if God can take 500 strangers and connect them like He did with this launch team, He can and does still do anything to show the world His love still exists. Let's all find a stranger and we might just find a friend.
Happy Friday y'all!