One thing that comes up a lot in the writing circles I travel in is the feeling of displacement, and the feeling of not belonging in other groups. Christians who write speculative are out of the Christian Writer clique, and sometimes out of the Christian clique. People at church sometimes don’t understand why or how a Christian could write what we write.
At day jobs, there’s a feeling of being the odd man out because of faith and trust in God or being unwilling to participate in certain behavior.
Many writers are introverts, while many others are extroverts, so it can feel like being left out when people don’t understand the need to hide in our turtle shells, under a rock, behind a tree, deep in the jungle, on a cloudy day.
But when we find each other, there’s a sense of belonging, a feeling of relief that we have finally found our tribe, our people, the ones who understand us and don’t judge us.
And yet, even in this blissful utopia of writerly goodness, there is conflict. Political and theological rifts abound. Disagreements about content and purpose are frequent. Personalities and senses of humor are often at odds.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate that, despite the apostle Paul’s encouragement, I can’t possibly be all things to all people, and they can’t be that for me. And so I have come to appreciate each of my friends on an individual level, both writers and others.
I have friends who are my spiritual confidants, people who I share my heart and my struggles with.
I have people who I agree with politically, who can help me hash out my understanding of certain events.
I have people who are my theological mentors and people who challenge me, and those who help me in my writing, and those whose company I just plain enjoy.
I even have people I may not particularly like but who are in my life because of proximity or relationships or ministries, or who I am called to minister to.
And then there are those with whom I feel that certain spark, that affinity, that depth of connection where I feel like they really “get” me, and I “get” them. Those people who are, as Anne of Green Gables would say, my Kindred Spirits.
Moreover, I am that person to someone. But not the same someone. Some people look up to me spiritually, others theologically, others as a mom, others just want to be my friend, and still others see me as their ministry project.
The point is, you don’t have to agree with someone to appreciate them. You don’t have to like how someone says something to appreciate what they said. You don’t have to like everyone equally, and not everyone has to be your best friend.
We are all individuals. We are all made in the image of God and we all reflect and represent different aspects of Him (even those who don’t believe in Him). We can like certain aspects of someone’s personality while disliking others. It doesn’t mean we have to throw out the whole friendship–it just means we are unique and we should focus on the things we have in common, rather than the things that divide us.
And when you find those people, the ones who really get you, hang on to them. Kindred Spirits may not be as rare as Anne once thought, but they’re rare enough that they should be treasured.
Let your Kindred Spirits know how you feel about them!
And let me know–do you have a Kindred Spirit (or several)? What is it about them that makes you “click”?