I know it's a weird title for a photography blogpost. When I talk about 'finding your people' what I'm referring to is real community, the people who actually know you, and roll their eyes at your 'I'm fine' line when you both know you aren't. Thank God for people who don't believe you when you say you're okay but really aren't. Lori is one of my people. We don't bother much with tough acts. I think the more community deepens, the less people bother with pretending to have it figured out, and instead just do life together. Real community talks less, listens more, and saves pat answers and theory for blog posts. Good community knows that in real life, people need wisdom that's come from the hard road of experience. Lori is like that. I tend to call her on hard days, and after I've splattered out my disjointed thoughts, she'll often ask questions that help connect the dots and disjointedness. She never tries to have the answer, which is so refreshing. Usually, I walk away feeling like she handed me a map. People who offer you a map can be trusted much farther than people who think they have to lead you directly to the answer. Maps empower us to learn to walk on our own two feet and find our way, rather than developing unhealthy dependence on an individual. In Lori, I have found someone who not only hands me a map, but is willing to walk with me through the messy process of finding my way. I really don't have words for how grateful I am for this. Her high value for freedom and kindness in allowing people to be where they are and treating them with honor anyway has given her a place of influence not just in my life but in the lives of many. I'm honestly not even sure how to put the impact that she makes into words because it is subtle, but I have felt the goodness of it, and have been changed for the better because of it.
Fun fact about Lori and I: it's like we're cut from the same cloth...only we aren't, because if she is plaid, I am definitely paisley. I'm thinking maybe we were made in the same fabric factory so our core fibers are similar because we connect on a deep level, but on the surface we are night and day different. We both like our coffee black and our wine red, but that's where our surface similarities end. Lori is fanatical about sports and politics. I like crafting, DIY projects, and Pinterest. If you make Lori sit down to do a craft, she will wonder why you hate her. Lori is a big picture person, and I get hung up on the details. My point is that community on a deep level doesn't have to be about similar interests, but it IS about connection.
Lori and I connect on a heart level around things like purpose and faith, passion for mentorship, a need for adventure, and the belief that risk-taking is essential to living a better story. I don't make her do crafts with me, and she doesn't force me to talk politics with her. We connect in the areas that make sense for us and don't ask each other to be something we aren't in the areas where our interests are different. I think this is part of developing good community. Understand a relationship for what it is and don't ask it to be something it was never meant to be. This works well for us because we live in different states. Yes, you can have community with someone who lives in a different state. Technology is beautiful and has increased the opportunity for community exponentially. Lori and I talk in spurts and fits, like waves that crash in and then ebb out, but she is one of the strongest connections I have within community.
Lori and I are sisters so we've obviously known each other forever, but the transition from average relationship to meaningful community only happened about seven or eight years ago. It's not that we weren't friends before, but there is a shift that happens when you move from a sort of standard friendship to purposeful community. Both are great, but the connection is different. I think that's what I mean by 'finding your people.' It's not about finding the people who are similar to you on the surface. In fact, it's often so much more fun if they aren't because it expands your horizons. It's about finding people who are okay with you, unthreatened by your process, and are willing to hand you a map instead of answers. With Lori, I've found someone who doesn't just hand me a map, but joins me for the journey.
It should be known that the reason this photoshoot happened in the first place started with our mother updating her gallery wall. At risk of old photos finding their way onto said wall, I told Lori we'd run outside for a quick five minute photo shoot sometime when she was home for Christmas.
I have this dreadful tendency to turn five minutes into fifteen, but Lori was a champ and let me have fun with it even though it was freezing out.
One of the things I love about the holidays (or anytime when my sister Marilyn comes around), is that a particular friend of hers shows up and joins the chaos that is our family...which takes a courage all its own but that's another story. Her name is Tonya and she is wonderful. I bring this up because Tonya is a boss at every creative endeavor she puts her hand to - from the edible art of dessert creation to working makeup magic to painting to furniture makeovers to styling photo shoots. So naturally, when she found out that Lori and I were about to do a mini photoshoot, she ran home to get her bag of tricks and did Lori's makeup. Tonya, you are a rockstar. Thank you for being so fabulously generous with your gifts and talents, and for joining us in the cold and keeping Lori laughing.
Love ya, Lori. Beyond grateful that God made us sisters. You've been a difference maker and a game changer.