Why We Need a Strong Village for Our Families

Tears stream down my precious nieces’ faces, ages 7 and 10, as they wake up to the loss of  their perfectly healthy mom. She never woke up on the morning of her 38th birthday due to an undiagnosed arrhythmia. And all I could think was, what in the world could possibly fill the void of such a special mother? Absolutely nothing. But I watched in awe as I saw a beautiful bridge form over the void with the strength, comfort, and courage of the village that surrounded them.

Their village was filled with classmates, teachers, friends, their friends’ parents, neighbors, all of whom took their eyes off their own lives and made time to step in and surround these girls. Nothing in this life is more powerful and connecting than people who can hold and honor your pain.

strong villageMeals, carpools, notes, small tokens of thoughtfulness may seem trivial, pointless, or even a waste of time. But we all yearn to be seen, to belong, and most of all not to be left alone. To watch these things unfold during their immense grief proved without a shadow of a doubt that when people choose to come along side one another with sacrifice, love, and kindness we all benefit. A beautiful bond, a sturdy bridge, is built that can handle any load.

“WE” truly is one of the life’s greatest gifts, to be connected, surrounded by love, and considered during intense moments of need. A village by definition means joint possession, liability, and enjoyment.

I have seen and believe these are the three vital reasons why we need “A Strong Village.”

Possession {also means ownership and control}

When we are flat on our back physically or emotionally, and someone comes along and takes charge. Pays the bills, vacuums the rug, does the laundry, feeds the dogs, cooks dinner, anything! An incredible bond is formed. The reality of knowing someone will help you carry the load, makes our pain not so scary and overwhelming. The strength of a village helps make life go on.

Liability {also means one that acts at a disadvantage}

When we are in pain of any kind, we can easily be our own worst enemy, unaware of ourselves, other people, unable to complete tasks, etc. That is when the gift of friends, teachers, neighbors who dare to care can redirect us. They help us move through our pain in ways that are constructive rather than destructive. They become the firm pillars in a bridge that keeps us rooted in what is real and important.

Enjoyment {also means something that gives keen satisfaction}

When our eyes are nearly swollen shut from crying and we are completely exhausted, to have someone make you laugh all the way up from your belly, forget, and hope again is what I think the world means by showing us that “the sun is always shining above the clouds.” You can rise above. You can live a full and beautiful life no matter what happens. You are not alone. Your village is your rainbow bridge to anywhere.

So join our family and shout out of the Swahili word for village “KIJIJI” as a playful reminder how important it is for us to take the time to reach out to each other, classmates, neighbors, friends, and create a village. We can be one another’s sturdy bridge that holds each of us with all that life has to offer, the good and the bad.

About Kat Kronenberg

Kat Kronenberg is the author of Dream Big. Her hope and dream is that through reading we can encourage one another other to “follow our bliss,” stay in the arena fighting for our dreams, and allow joy and fulfillment to be our internal GPS. She lives in Austin, TX with her family.

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