I sit, staring at the faces on my computer screen. There are 400 of them, to be exact. I know just a handful of them personally, and have met maybe 50 in real life. They live in places I’ve been before and in towns I couldn’t find on a map if my life – or dinner – depended on it. Some are the life of every party, and some quietly observe all that’s going on around them, looking for the smallest of nuance in every moment.
And these faces have reminded me of something beautiful –
Great joy awaits in a motley crew, a team of misfits, a clan, a tribe, a community of people who embrace you and let you live life with grace and purpose. Run to them. Don’t be afraid. ~32 Tips from a Woman over 50
These faces have been with me for a month now on a journey called The START Experiment, and they are being joined by new faces. Every face has a dream, a risk – something that feels just ever so much larger than the place they stand. There are musicians, writers, preachers, teachers, students, business leaders, photographers, homemakers, speakers, filmmakers, runners – people who find joy in baking and people who find joy in healing and people who find joy in writing code for computer programs. There are believers and skeptics, teens and folks who want to be teens again. We are so very different from each other – and so alike.
These faces have reminded me of the true power of community.
Together, we’ve shared dreams and confessed fears. We’ve encouraged each other to breathe deeply and take step after step. We’ve rallied around those who are hurting, and we’ve celebrated every small victory. We’ve shared stories, laughed a million laughs, and danced. Yes, we’ve danced. And you know how much I love to dance. These folks have even let me imagine what it would be like to invite everyone over for a good old fashioned picnic – complete with fried chicken, cherry pie, Texas BBQ, lawn darts, and those quilts stretched out on the lawn so we could all stare up at the sky and imagine ourselves flying. And because there are dreamers, the picnic features glitter and unicorns.
But the START Experiment – an online group based on the premise that “fear fears community” – has done something else for me. It’s made me dream more bravely about storytelling and helping others find their story. Because something transformational happens when arms are linked on a journey. Even the smallest of armies can slay dragons. And it’s made me fall more in love with the community that I’ve been given in my every day life – a community that is full of dreams and risks and fears and celebrations.
So today, I am thankful for you. Yes, you. Because you are part that community – the one that’s making my dreams grow larger. I’d love to know your dreams, so I can hold you up and hold you close and maybe help you be brave too.
If you’d like to know more about the START Experiment, send me a message – and if you’d like to see its genesis, check out Jon Acuff and the book START.