“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap.”
- Ani DiFranco
I attended a memorial service for the husband of a dear friend this weekend. So many thoughts and feelings always come up at these times, yet what really struck me was the community of people gathered to support the family that lost a loved one.
Ultimately, we need each other.
Ugg. Many days, I would love to operate as an island. Heck, I would love to move to an island. Well, sort of. Until I make a random connection with the kind stranger walking her dog. Or before I get a funny text from a long-time friend. Or until I host a birthday party for my kids and see all of the family that just shows up simply to be present for my little one’s big day. So, I guess an island isn’t the end all answer for me. What I am constantly reminded about is no matter how much we want to operate independently, we need each other.
We may not agree with the way someone acts or their political beliefs, yet when we can take a moment to hear their story, we hear their joys, the tales of their tears, the intensity behind their passions - and we can understand. We can identify with those emotions, as they are feelings we all have had. We focus on the similarities, not the differences, looking past the edited lives we think we know. This is where we can connect; through those feelings and similarities that are behind the stories of who we truly are.
Whether it is a garden club, a playgroup of new moms, a support group, or even a church choir; whatever it is, these groups are often successful because of the community, the individuals that make up the whole. We learn from those who came before us, and help set the stage for the next generation, the next person to walk in our shoes driven by their stories that are interconnected to our own.
We may not always like each other.
We may not always agree with each other, but we must coexist. We need to share our stories, what makes us who we are. We need a net underneath us to catch us when we fall and to know we are not alone. When we open up, we learn a little more about others, about the world, and most importantly – about ourselves.
So, while isolated island life is appealing, with no one to disagree with us or step on our toes, there is also no one with whom we can share in the true joys and sadness that makes it all worth it.