I choose one every year. A word to hold fast to. One tiny combination of letters, that God willing, I'll be still and let myself be changed by.
Last year's was dwell. I wanted to invest where my feet were, to write more, and to pay attention. For much of the year, I was able to. I got to know people really deeply, and I disciplined myself to read and write words I wouldn't ordinarily go for. I even lost myself in taking photos; I'll always remember those months fondly. However this was the year I traveled the most (just couldn't give that one up!). I don't regret a bit of it.
In 2015, more than most years, I've been reading. All kinds of things: interviews, novels, poetry, biographies, memoirs. I've also been listening. Over 93,000 minutes of music according to Spotify, and that's not including what I've seen live or heard with friends.
Then, September of this year, I started following Jedidiah Jenkins on Instagram. He's a travel writer, well-known for trekking half the world on a bike. His posts are refreshingly honest and deep thoughts, and one of his photos/captions changed the game for me.
He was on a trip across the country by train, Amtrak's Passport Express, with 30 some-odd people. He wrote about speaking with two friends while lying in the grass, about the loss of friendships, realizing that change has ensued, and that sometimes your once upon a time partner in crime is no longer a part of your life.
"I can sit at a coffee shop and dig for the words with an old friend, but our lives are no longer in the same river. We're flowing to different seas...It's 'catching up'...I hate catching up. It feels like rolling a boulder uphill. When I sit with a kindred friend, there is no catching up. Everything is understood. It's an explosion of futures. Being on this train, surrounded by such like-minded creatures, who can finish my sentences after knowing me a week, makes me wonder how many people in this world feel understood by their friends. How many people have a kindred community?"
Kindred. Not a word you hear everyday. No one I know uses it- not in conversation and not in writing. I knew of it, but not the exact meaning: natural relationship; affinity. associated by origin or nature. having the same belief, attitude, or feeling
I'd heard it recently, and it took me awhile to remember where.
I know. It was a collective of artists on a house show tour. I never made it to a show, but I read about it, saw film shots, and listened to a few live songs. They called themselves KINDRED. Liza Anne, Sam Pinkerton, the Aliza Carter Band, and Cory Kilgannon traveled around in a van, learned each others' songs, and played in homes across the country. Their lives were spilling all over each other. Kindred community.
This past year was hard. There were so many magic-filled moments, but they were punctuated with struggle. For two and a half months, I lived alone. For another two, I watched a group of people I care for so deeply begin to tear at the seams. In the midst of it all, it became easier for me to run from the One who gave it all for me. So I did.
Now, I'm coming home. I want to be in sync with the Father, stepping in his footprints, rhythm ever so alike. I want to make my friends a priority- less catching up, more 'explosions of futures'. I want to invite those without a community to be a part of mine, to know and be known.
To answer Jedidiah's question, I don't know how many people get to experience kindred community. I do know I'd like there to be more of them.
To 2016, to kindred!