Happy Tuesday, Reader Friends!
Today the lovely Laurie Tomlinson has stopped by to Takeover Soulfully Romantic blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and sit a spell.
Three Things I Learned About Community
Sometimes I think stories have a mind of their own. As someone who writes them, I know they don’t always do what I ask or behave like I expect them to, and as someone who reads (a lot of) them, the same words can have completely different meanings between the first pass and the next. Reading my own books? The same absolutely applies!
When I wrote my novella, That’s When I Knew, in late 2016, the message that jumped from the page was how much can get lost in the hustle of a creative or professional endeavor. The main character, Chelsea, let the pressure of running her company overshadow a lot of the beauty of it. But as I read it again preparing to re-release it this month, the idea of community was what resonated the most. Maybe it’s because life looks a little different almost two years later, but here’s what this story showed me–and what I wish I’d known when I wrote it.
It’s a given that true community means showing up for our people, but it’s just as important to let them show up for us. Many of us who love serving others get a little squirmy when it’s our turn. We’d rather keep trying to balance all the things or suffer in silence than invite people into our mess. But vulnerability brings so much depth and authenticity to community. It takes things to a completely different level.
Yes, we naturally congregate to people we have common experiences with, but there is SO much value in inviting people to our table who don’t look like us, believe like us, or make decisions like us. I don’t have to tell you how much we can learn from people whose experiences look different than ours, but drawing closer also shapes our empathy, our picture of humanity, and the way we frame our truths. And genuine conversation and proximity don’t require changing what we believe nor do they mean we’re affirming their stance. It means seeing and loving regardless. That’s it.
Building community can be simple. At a conference I watched a few weeks after turning this novella in, the thing that stuck with me the most was the idea that anyone who can put on a pot of chili can have community. It wasn’t about the chili, though, because the same applies for anyone who can work a coffee maker or open a pack of slice-and-bake cookies. It was about the simplicity and the lack of fanfare involved that spoke to my own feelings of inadequacy.
Community doesn’t require a spotless living room or a thriving online platform or the ability to cook things without burning them. It’s about seeing the people around us, being brave enough to smile, maybe say a few words, then inviting them to deeper connection. It’s about taking care of the people we have. And letting them take care of us.
About the Author
About the Author: Laurie Tomlinson is an award-winning contemporary romance author of That’s When I Knew, With No Reservations, and The Long Game, currently featured in the Once Upon a Laugh novella collection. She believes that God’s love is unfailing, anything can be accomplished with a good to-do list, and that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles.
About the Book
Two childhood sweethearts. One failed summer romance. Twelve years later.
On most days, Chelsea Scott feels like her rapidly growing planner and stationery business should belong to someone else. Maybe if it did, it wouldn’t be hovering near the red due to one costly decision. But the collaboration that will save her company awaits her pitch at the trade show she’s keynoting. When her transportation falls through at the last minute, she accepts help from Nick Pearson, who’s unexpectedly come back into her life.
The last time Nick saw Chelsea, he told her he loved her, and she ran. Twelve years later, their lives are different, more complex than the summers they spent playing baseball and eating ice cream cones at their dock with their toes in the lake. But as they spend time together on the road, their feelings for each other become clear: all those years couldn’t take away how good they can be together.
When Chelsea’s past decisions resurface at the convention, her newly rekindled relationship with Nick – and her business – are in jeopardy. Will their love be enough to keep them together or will another summer end with them apart?