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Local Columnists

Life in a tribe is a living prayer

Jerrilyn Zavada
Jerrilyn Zavada

It really is a miracle when it happens.

When you find someone in life from your so called “tribe.”

Someone who sees the world as you do, and sees you for who you are. Someone who is just as flawed, yet as beautiful in those flaws as you are.

And when they see who you are, they don’t run away, but stick around and welcome you and affirm all your quirks as God-given gifts. Maybe even drawing those quirks out of you in fuller, more beautiful bloom.

As an aside, in my tribe, one of the key qualities we share is a love for laughter. Head thrown back in the air cackling or doubled over in hysterics. People in my tribe love to laugh, but never in a hurtful way. At life, at themselves, at each other.

When you’re around them, you feel home, not in the sense of a physical place, but in a spiritual place that is like the Supreme Being saying “this is how it is, this is how I love you. Unwrap this gift and love it and care for it and *appreciate* it for what it is.”

This week I was blessed to spend an afternoon with one of those people as she selflessly shared her gifts with me. She is a member of my tribe. And given the way she lives her life with such exquisite and self-giving love, laughter and acceptance, she is a member of a lot of people’s tribes.

So many people love this woman, as she continually teaches them how to love life and people for what it is and who they are. She describes what she does as she weaves through this life sharing herself with others as “people loving people.”

It’s what we all should do, but don’t.

No, we get wrapped up in our pettiness and our judgments and being offended and we forget life is too short for all that and the only thing we have time for — the only things we have time for — are love and gratitude.

As I was driving home from my friend’s house this week, I was overwhelmed with gratitude, that the Creator of this Earth and the life that inhabits it saw fit to give me a day so filled with love and laughter and grace and self-giving and just BEING.

I told my friend as we were sitting in her back yard that being with her and the gifts she gave me that day were in fact prayer incarnate, and that is what I wish for my life to be. When people are in my presence, or touched by something I have done, as I was by her, I want them to feel like they have just experienced prayer in all its purity and simplicity.

Because, you see, life itself is what we make it and we have the option to make it all a living prayer.

Thanks for teaching me that, Aim. I love you.

SPIRIT MATTERS is a weekly column that examines spirituality in The Times' readership area. Contact Jerrilyn Zavada at to share how you engage your spirit in your life and in your community.

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