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Why we all need a tribe

"If I say, 'My foot is slipping,' your loyal love, O Lord , supports me."
Psalm 94:18



When I was in college, I went camping with some friends at Red River Gorge in Kentucky.  The gorge is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest in the western Smokey Mountains.  It was kind of a strange trip to begin.  The crowd that I traveled with was not a kindred crowd.  I didn't know any of them too well and we were spending about four days together in the woods.  In a tent.  Without showers.  Or bathrooms.  

All of the women were older than me.  And I think this trip was some kind of "hear me roar" sojourn.  They talked incessantly about bad break-ups and the men that they no longer needed.  I tried to sleep through the eight hour round-trip blaring of The Indigo Girls and the rest of the other Lilith Fair line-up.  

I was trying to find myself during these years.  Up to that point I had tried the 
country-western-two-steppin'-rodeo-groupie-thing
and the 
Nirvana-grunge-black-eyeliner-mayormaynothavebeensmokingweed-thing
and the
holy-roller-lay-on-the-alter-and-weeping-confessing-speaking-in-tongues-thing.  

So I tried on their man-hating persona along with my too-tight hiking boots and headed to Half-Moon (pictured above)--a rock face that we were about to climb with no ropes and no common sense.  

You can probably see where this is going.  I foolishly tried to climb the giant boulder, looked down at the abyss below my feet, freaked out, became paralyzed with fear--sticking like a gecko to the crag-face, begging God to save me from my ignorant bravado, and inched my way back down to the stable ground below. 

Two things stick out in my mind when I think about that trip.  
One, I felt completely alone though in the company of others.  This was a common theme throughout most of my adolescence.  I was seeking my tribe and trying the rituals of present company but nothing fit.  Some of the actions were life-threatening.  
I see this with some of the adolescents that I currently work with.  They experience vast depression because they feel inferior or unloved.  I believe they just haven't found their tribe.  Some adults are still searching for their true tribe.
We all need kindred community to keep us anchored in acceptance and sanity.  We need others to keep us roped in and tied up into Truth and Hope. 
They keep our feet from slipping. 
This is key.

The other thing I learned: I'm not a man-hating rock climber that loves pooping in the woods and needs to prove to others that I can pee standing up.  

Yep, that's about it.

until soon,
b.

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