The Importance of a Tribe
I had my first official book signing two days ago (yahoo!). I had no idea what to expect, and for a few moments before the event began, I sat wondering, what if no one comes?
I resolved to keep a smile on my face and enjoy the opportunity no matter the outcome.
One thing that is particularly hard for me (as an introverted writer) is to engage with total strangers. It is much easier to say nothing. However, after watching with a broad smile as one, then two people walked right by my book display without a word or glance, I decided I had to be the one to speak up. I tried to swallow my awkwardness and do my job—which is telling people about my book.
The day began to unfold. The passersby took my info cards (really big bookmarks) with a kind smile. A few were not as kind. I settled into a groove of speaking to everyone who came into the coffee shop. It got less weird the more times I did it.
My (amazing, handsome, supportive, award-winning) husband sat quietly in the background the entire time, simply there. For me. On my big day. Having the unconditional support of just one person made the day not so scary, not so awkward. Even if no one bought a book or spoke to me, it would be okay. I wasn’t in this alone.
And then, beautifully, my tribe started to arrive. The people who love me enough to come out on a Saturday and celebrate with me at the accomplishment of a dream. Giddy, they asked to have their books signed. Giddy, I obliged.
The coffee shop began to fill up with my tribe. My people. I felt buoyed by their love and support. My parents and sister came (my true and lifelong tribe). My son was there (crawling all over everything and drooling on everyone, as per his custom). My husband’s family came. To look around and see all the faces of people I care about most, all there to support my dream, was an incomparable feeling. Thankfulness flowed out of me.
Even if I hadn’t sold a single copy of my book (which I did), the day would have been a success. Even if no strangers had taken information about my book (which they did), the day would have been more delightful than I could have anticipated. There is nothing like having a tribe. With a tribe of supporters, I am brave, I am capable, I am encouraged to do the impossible. Because even if I fail, I will not fall. I have too many hands there to catch me.
The Lord knows we need each other. That’s one of the reasons He ordained the local church and the family (these two things are where most of my core tribe comes from, by the way). He has blessed me beyond measure with a heart full to the brim with the love of those around me. I do not deserve this. Not everyone gets to experience this fullness, this level of support.
I thank the Lord for my tribe.
So when you have a task ahead of you that feels difficult or even impossible, find your tribe. That may be your family. It may be your found family. It may be your teacher (believe it or not, teachers want you to succeed and love to support the successes and dreams of their students). It may be the one friend you’ve been able to count on through the years. One is enough. One means you are not alone.
Find your tribe. Do the impossible. Let their support carry you toward your dreams.
To my tribe, thank you.