We had our very first holiday party at our new home over the weekend and it was, by far, favorite party we’ve ever thrown. It was imperfect, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure I unintentionally left people I love off the guest list (I’m so sorry!). I didn’t plan the kids activities very well. Like, I probably should have planned some supervision in the cookie decorating room. . . yikes. (So sorry also for the darling holiday clothes covered in red and green icing and the stomach aches due to ingestion of PURE sugar.) As imperfect as it was, the very best feedback I heard all night was “It was so ‘you’. ” When I asked for clarity about what made it “me”, the answer was that it was such a diverse group of people. Some of them knew one another, but many of them did not. Friends were asking me to connect them with other friends. They made their way around the room connecting on all different levels. It was really beautiful to see.
It made my heart smile.
These two beauties came into my life in very different ways. I met Ruby (on the left) while I was touring her home that was under construction (if you know me, you know trespassing is kind of a small part of my typical MO). She and her family pulled up while I was walking out the front door. It was so #awkward that I had to introduce myself, by telling them we obviously already had a lot in common based on our taste in homes. Ruby was shockingly kind and generous, and immediately invited me back inside to tell me all about it. From there a beautiful friendship was born. Of course, we don’t get to see each other often, in fact only a few times since then, but we have a deeper soul connection that bonds us together. That bond is evidenced by the stunning piece of art that Ruby created for our home, likely the most meaningful gift I have ever received.
Then there is Anna.
Another completely awkward meeting. When I was planning the “Let’s get together GNO” earlier this year to promote diversity in our understanding of beauty, a friend gave me Anna’s number and told me to call her as a potential panelist. I called her up and fumbled through explaining what I was trying to do. At the end of the call, she was like, “I love this! Are you asking me to be part of it?” (I died.) YES! I’ve been trying to. So awkward. But guess what? She showed up so courageously, baring the stories of beauty in her life to our entire room full of women. There were tears and laughter.
There was SO much connection.
I could tell you story after story, of the awkward moments that led to the friends who showed up at our home on Sunday. (I think maybe awkward is one of my talents in this life.) As I look back on 2018, that’s one of my very favorite gifts. As a result of the move, the new neighborhood, and the growth of HeartStories, we have expanded our circle of friends significantly. For that, I’m forever grateful.
The bridges of friendship are sometimes awkward to build.
Someone has to (often awkwardly) go first. Someone has to reciprocate openly, even though it’s also probably awkward. Then both parties have to intentionally find opportunities to reconnect. (Thanks to social media this part is easier than ever in the history of mankind.) The key is intention.
It will not happen on accident.
If you look around your holiday parties and notice it’s the same group of friends you’ve known for years, that’s amazing! You’ve been blessed with longevity in friendships, not everyone has that gift. Be grateful. And also, think about how you might begin to expand your circle. Not because you need more friends in your life, but because you need to expand your love.
Our lives are meant to be a process of becoming more love.
This week, make it a point to get awkward with someone you feel drawn to connect with on a deeper level. If you don’t feel it, slow down and pay attention. People will show up in your life in awkward ways and you’ll feel a tinge of connection. It’s like a quiet whisper. It’s not random. It’s the way life gives us its very best gifts.
But you have to listen.
You have to be willing to be intentionally awkward enough to receive and embrace it.
Life’s very best gifts don’t come from your comfort zone.
Embrace that this holiday season.
to more love,