In Luke 8:20-21, Jesus is giving a sermon when he is told that his mother and brothers are outside, wanting to see him. He replies: “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
As a child that was raised with violent reaction towards every form of insolence committed against a person with parental authority, this portion of the Bible always made me uncomfortable. Jesus’ supposed dismissiveness towards his mother was especially dumbfounding.
But then yesterday, I had an epiphany; Jesus wasn’t being dismissive. He was simply pointing out that the people in his company were equally important. They were well aligned with his sole mission on earth. They were his people.
This realisation got me asking myself: who are your people? Because the truth is that most adults carry a lot of deadweight in their human connections because they are afraid to be disliked, criticised or misunderstood. They are afraid to cut ties with people that they have known for long even if those people do them physical or emotional harm, even if they hold them back.
But even with all the countless connections, you must find out who your people are. And in my opinion, your people are those who have taken the time to understand you to the core. They embrace your weirdness. Around them, you’re unafraid to admit that you carried your villageness to Kigali so you haven’t developed a taste for pizza.
You don’t have to keep up appearances with them. You can tell them if you can’t afford to go to their expensive birthday bash that one of their opinionated friends has decided everyone can afford. You can tell them that when you’ve done something unpleasant, wrong or just dumb.
Your people are those who show up for you. They don’t give you the “I’m with you in prayer” during your time of trouble. They don’t even ask if you need any help. They show up and do something to lighten your load or at the very least make sure you don’t feel alone.
The people who stand up for you, those are your people. The ones who will not be afraid to advocate for you even if it means speaking out against popular opinion. They are the equivalent of my one friend in primary school who raised her hand to vote for me a new pupil and a misfit who had dared to contest for Class Monitor.
Your people are those who honestly wish you well. This means that they have got your back at all times. They are supportive. They are also not afraid to let you know when you’ve gone over the line. They will help you realise when you’ve made a mistake and you need to do better.
Some people are lucky to find their people in blood relatives. Others find them in their friends. Wherever you find them, treat them with kindness and consideration because many are those who go through life never finding their people. They are cynical of human connections and they neither trust nor love anyone completely. And that is truly lonely.