Once again I find myself speaking through the lens of Nashville, but really – this says it all for me at the moment.
(In the spirit of avoiding plot spoilers I have chosen to share a cover version of this beautiful song. If you’re in the UK and haven’t watched season 5 of Nashville, promise me you won’t Google it or follow any of the other YouTube links in the sidebar!)
As a mother, I’m finding myself in a season where I need to be a sanctuary for my girls, and especially for Eldest to be her safe place. Being a sanctuary calls on me to shift my priorities, to seek the way of peace in my own life and to bring beauty to a very ugly situation. Protection, justice, compassion.
I’ve cancelled work this week
I’ve bought mini-Oreo’s for the walk home from school this week
I’ve wept this week
I’ve taken Eldest with me to swim in the sea this week
I’m so thankful for the space to find my own way to be a refuge, and I guess I just wish that all kids had a safe place to fall.
Readers of the last few months may have gathered… I am a huge Nashville fan. I am committed to not giving away any series 5 plot spoilers for my friends on this side of the pond, so let me just say that Rayna is one of my heroes (and I do know that she is a TV character – but she’s my hero anyway!) I love the way that we have seen her grow as a mother as her girls have entered turbulent teenage years, I love how passionate and open-hearted she is, and I love the way that we’ve seen her struggle to balance her career and her dreams with her life as a mentor, mother and lover.
There’s a scene in Nashville a few years back where Rayna has to play at a Country Club benefit. I remember her raising her eyebrows and assuring her band leader, “These are not ma’people” (try and imagine a lovely Southern drawl)
But here’s the thing, Rayna grew up with those people. Yet the comfortable world of the elite wasn’t for her. She knew they weren’t her people.
Ever since we moved from a cosmopolitan, diverse Northern city to a sleepy market town in the South West, I’ve been searching for “ma’people”. The direction life took us when Eldest was born meant that our local conservative, evangelical church began to feel less and less like home. We had too many questions. One of the reasons I left Facebook earlier this year was because I felt so aware that the views of many mainstream Christians just don’t reflect mine. These are not ma’people.
When life throws a lot of crap your way, it’s interesting how it can help you find your people! Over the last ten years or so, my friendships have deepened with other people who know what it is to feel broken. My little WordPress community is full of amazing people who are learning to live with limits. Next weekend I’ll be meeting up with the other mums from the ‘Head up, Heart strong’ film who have all battled postnatal illness. We will be sharing cocktails and stories of relapse. These are just some of ma’people.
This week I took a new step to reach out and find ma’people. I joined Team East Devon Swimmers for an evening swim in Sidmouth. The water was 12 degrees C and the swimming was magical! It was a special thing for me after a number of years living with mental illness to meet people based firstly on a shared interest, rather than on a shared experience of suffering. I learned a new word – Thalassophile – meaning someone who loves the sea. These too, are ma’people… and I can’t wait to get to know them better.
Here’s where we will be swimming. Just beautiful.