30 Comments
Mar 7Liked by John Onwuchekwa

My heart melted as I finished this post... I find myself in a similar place. But as I reflect on life I can really say life is always better based on who is on my team. While I grieve at times that the people I THOUGHT would be on my team are not due to betrayal and heartbreak, God had ALWAYS supernaturally sent who I needed not necessarily who I wanted.

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Dionne! Thanks for the kind words. When you say you find yourself in a similar place, please expound?

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I have found myself in the space of reflection. I had the privilege of attending the tour when you came to Philadelphia. That moment left me glued to my seat, feet cemented to the floor unable to move for a while. The event helped clarify for me so many spaces in the my life that were fuzzy and unclear. I did not know that I had spent decades grieving the loss of some family relationships. The difference for me is that the people aren't physically dead. Their rejection of me has sparked a type of grief that until now I didn't have words for.

Your latest post reminded me of the space I have been in for about 6 to 8 weeks now - one of reflecting with a grateful heart on WHO the Lord has sent to my life. Despite all the ups and downs of life and all the time I was grieving and didn't know it, He has allowed particular people to enter and remain in my life, adding an indescribable depth and sweetness that has my heart overflowing with joy. While I am unsure of what's next, of two things I am sure: I desire to live in a posture of obedience and WHO I am connected to is way more important than worrying about WHAT'S next.

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Mar 6Liked by John Onwuchekwa

Such good words. I noticed Carol's comment here as well. 4 years into retirement, mine forced by COVID lay offs, my husband's planned, I can say these are words for even those transitions. One feels a bit like a boat drifting in the ocean. Like your working through grief, this applies to so many. Keep sharing. It's so easy to say "my identity is in Christ" until life changes and I examine how others' view of my identity is more significant than I thought.

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Listen! I'm all for the honest convos about where our identity "really is"

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Mar 6Liked by John Onwuchekwa

Thank you so much for this reflection. My husband is retiring next January after being a civil engineer and salesman in the concrete pipe industry for over 40 years. It was so hard for him to reach this decision but through lots of prayer, encouragement, and wise counsel from our team he saw that this is what the Lord wanted him to do. We are excited about this upcoming new chapter in our lives along with the adventures and ministry opportunities the Lord is already providing backed by the support of our team.

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I"m excited for y'all in this transition. After doing the same thing for over 40 years, it's gonna be special experiencing a new sense of freedom and mystery! Please keep me updated with how things work out.

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Mar 6Liked by John Onwuchekwa

Teammmmmmm!!!! 🙏🏻

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You know you're part of the team too!

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Mar 6Liked by John Onwuchekwa

Man you have no idea how much your journey and the penning of your thoughts has impacted me. Your grief tour showed up ‘unexpectedly’ while I was in the thickest of my grief, your book helped me go on, and now this reflection on your season of transition. Thank you for taking the risks and vulnerably sharing your inner thoughts. You’ve become part of my story. God bless you and your future endeavors.

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Thank you Nineveh! What stop did you come to on the tour?? I'm honored that it showed up unexpectedly and hoped out.

Honestly, none of this stuff really feels like a "risk". Especially when, within minutes of putting it out in the world, so many notes like this one come through. I'm always reminded that if I'm feeling it on the inside, someone else has to be going through the same thing. Right?

Again, thanks for the kind words and for showing up sis!

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I came to the Phoenix stop. I didn’t know who you were at the time but the video promo popped up the day before the show and I jumped on it not knowing what to expect.

I was in the thick of grief from losing my daughter to premature labor, taking care of my dying mother who lost her battle with metastatic breast cancer, and being ruthlessly abandoned by my church family in the midst of it. All this happened within a 6 month period, the prompt for the tour popped up 2 months after that.

It showed me the great lengths God will go to in order to tend to His. It felt like that show was orchestrated just for me. I needed to hear about a pastor who quit his job and was willing to go outside the 4 walls of a church and minister to the broken. A rap artist who I had vaguely known about sharing his heart about the loss of his mother to metastatic breast cancer. Another pastor who shared how grief was showing up in physical pain helped me manage my growing health issues differently. And a spoken word artist who lost his identity when leaving the church.Oh yeah and the comedian who gave the sweet relief of laughter in the midst of all that heavy weight! It was clear that the experience was tailor made by the Holy Spirit.

Also, you are absolutely right on the impact of sharing your vulnerable experiences with others in mind. I needed to hear that too.

So again, thank you.

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Mar 7Liked by John Onwuchekwa

First of all, let me say, how much We missed you. So happy to see you pop into the new pieces to read. So From where to start…

You cracked me up, when you speak about your way of being, just as much as you touched and moved me (as always with your pieces of work). No matter being the “rock” you shared you are.

Well John in the end, when you throw a rock into a body of water, it may go down but through the energy it radiates outwards, it creates a rippling moving not only the surface, especially what underneath. See this water as all of us, including you and our inner worlds. And each one of this rippling it’s in the end connection to each other. 🤍✨

Yes, I’m one of the many who cares to leave you my voice here to give back everything you give out. It’s not the first time, I’ve been telling you (even if Substack sometimes fails to show all comments properly and you could never see my thankfulness to you since the first words, we had exchanged)

I want you to know, I’m the one present here telling you thank you back, full voice coming from my heart. Your words, the ones in your pieces of work as well as the ones you gifted to me through our exchanges in the notes.

You become an hand holding my heart in all of its humanness. Thank you for the understanding, the love, the support. The smiles and softness gifted.

Thank you for inviting me in this space with you by sharing yourself, your journey, being vulnerable up here. It is not a thing that takes little out of us… but it is always the first part that goes on behind the scene.

I have been living it in my own way right about this moment based on where I am, still in the first part of the materialization of my life, since the start of my healing in the past years, bringing me to my true self.

My dream of being a writer, becoming since the start of this year not being so far away and unreachable, as much as life itself was for me. My visions growing with me these past few months.

Through being in our communities, I was seen, understood, witnessed, loved since the very first time, I read a piece of each creator on here. (Including the ones I knew already about). All things my heart has always been aching and longing for.

When not so long ago, I started and still continue to share myself simply in notes/restacks/comments, this love came to embody parts of my dreams: connections, support, encouragement, embrace, being there already for me, human to human.

Going beyond the presence given already to me, not only as soon as I start to share my own voice. Which has been maturing, soon happening.

The growth of it in all of its phases, ebbing and flowing through that vulnerability I mentioned, thinking you don’t really have anything that could help others (maybe this is just me).

Yet my confidence in it, from its nature of being my lifeline, being so concrete recently.

Being literally some of the only means for me, constituting the taking shape of myself and my own life. Now knowing who I am. Source of life.

I never met my people in life but I have learned, what that simple term really means for the lives of each other. I know they are in front of me and I’m gonna meet them by my need of sharing all of myself, need to voice my voice, being the love I always dreamed to be for others, sharing the whole all of it, I contain inside me. Creating an home of healing, support, humanness, holding space…

And I hope, I will have the honor through mine own words to give you back, what you do here in your own space and with your sharing. For you one day to enjoy in the ride as well.

Ale

Ps. There is actually one last thing, I wanted to leave here. I was wondering if I could restack this note with my own reflection about it, what our communities mean in our own lives.

I wished to ask first cause I didn’t want to be intrusive with your own writing.

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Alessandra, two things.

First, please don't take my brevity as a lack of gratitude. It's just the opposite. I wouldn't dare try to show my gratitude by matching the length of your response. Your words have been kind and a gift, and sometimes a simple "thank you" is more potent than ample empty words. So I'll say this with all the sincerity I have. Thank you! Your response was such a gift.

Second, you never have to ask to restack any of my posts. I don't want to dictate what anyone takes away from anything I write. I merely put it out into the world and I let people do with it whatever they will. You have that freedom! Please use it!

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Dear John, let me clarify how the explanation wasn’t even needed.

I’m deeply grateful for you even caring so much about some words of mine, that you felt the need to underline, what they meant for you. This meant, you consciously took the time to sit there and read through, what I had the need to type, while sitting on my side.

You cared enough about me, you thought I was worth your words back.

I think you know about many ppl not even replying or simply putting a like, which I find disrespectful and not human, lacking of true feeling and care… but that’s just an unpopular opinion of mine. And the fact that you had replied to me… well, in my littleness meant loads.

I’m someone who places infinite value and faith of the words we choose to share consciously, or unconsciously coming through us. It is never the quantity in life, its only about quality. And for words it is measure in the love of them, in the light, embrace, in seeing the other. They hold weight onto themselves thanks to the intention by the voice speaking them.

About your second point, I posted it just a little bit ago.

The simple reason why I restack pieces, resides only in how much they mean to me from that moment on, when I happen to receive them in the first place. Always containing words, reminders, healing touches and love I need.

And most of them, being a writer myself (as I mentioned), propel in me this inspiration, this creation and the need to voice my voice on them. Even when that becomes simply sharing love or literally adding my own personal world to it.

I’m sorry my restack cannot do much in terms of making other people finding about you (like you need it hahaha) cause I’m still small. Still, I hope my words in there will give you back, what I said above, I dream to create here in this space and gift to others. Obviously, if you ever get a few minutes and are gonna happen to read it.

Still, I’m so joyful about the fact a simple comment of mine like this one could already manage to be. Honored.

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Thank you for sharing this reflection. I felt every word. You are an inspiration to me. I appreciate your vulnerability and transparency.

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Fam, it's my pleasure. I'm gonna try my best to just keep on showing up!

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Mar 6Liked by John Onwuchekwa

Thank you for sharing this. I have and still get caught up in the WHAT. After reading this, I can’t help but reflect on my life and who is my WHO. I feel like outside of my family, I don’t have a team. I lack genuine friendships.

My wife and I moved from a city of around 100k people to a rural town with 2K people. We are close with people down here but not actually close. I don’t feel that I have any brothers to call and go have coffee or go hoop with.

So how did your team get built? How did you maintain it and nurture it?

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That's a great question. I've actually been getting a lot of the same question this week. I think I'm gonna write on it for next week. I feel like I need to give a bit of an extended answer for it.

Would that be helpful?

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For sure! Thanks man

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The moment you realize friends are what really matters and then the daunting journey of finding and maintaining authentic, mutual friendships.

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fam! Nothing like it

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Mar 6Liked by John Onwuchekwa

JOHN* so sorry!

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DOn't trip....I do appreciate you correcting the spelling. Never forget, it's John* (spelled the right way)

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Mar 6Liked by John Onwuchekwa

Ah Jon, such a powerful reflection. I can relate in many ways, not so much giving up two decades of a combined life/career(!) - but in recently becoming a mother, and the themes of drowning and find a new identity that have come up for me too. It’s so important to find your constant, something tangible to hold onto in an ever changing landscape, right? People do that for us, and I’m forever grateful for my team too. Sending you love and thank you for sharing this perspective 🙏🏻

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Thanks for sharing Emma! It's so wild how the sometimes the answers we need find us because they're never really in the places we're looking for them. Congrats on motherhood as well. I hope you're doing your best to enjoy all the positives of this season. There's so many blessings that we naturally miss if we aren't actively looking FOR them or AT them.

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I’ve built a business which people thought “should be” forever. Yet, now I’m transitioning to a new career with the prior running strong.

It’s because of the team with and around me!

My man. This is so timely for me. Thank You.

Your time in Phoenix was so rich and encouraged me to finally start therapy.

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There are so many people who have helped us along the way and are still helping. If I created an excel spreadsheet, I’m sure that list would be long. But there have been a few people who have been with me thru the ups and downs of this new life.

Having a team is important, and I realize how much I resented that because would let my pride do want to do it on my own. Trying to prove something to everyone that I can do this on my own. “I don’t need help.” “I got this!!”

I remember playing sports football, basketball, and Track & Field. Even though I loved football and I liked basketball, but track and field was my thing because I knew the work that I put in, I would see the results. The other two sports, I had to rely on others and I realized how I don’t like to rely on people.

Missed assignments to me were always a sign of you didn’t prepare good enough. I was undersized and not a naturally gifted in size or strength; so, I had to take advantage of every opportunity but also push myself to the limit in every time I trained.

It’s a default mode.

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This is beautiful. Happy to find you

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I've followed Rob Bell for years and it's been very interesting to witness his shifts into various different media, activities and creative work. Like, right now he's painting in plywood, writing fiction in an allegorical style, and getting into plays. With your team around you, I'm sure you'll find cool and meaningful directions that right now can't even be glimpsed. Looking forward to following your specific story of change.

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