Fifty of us invaded their driveway on Tuesday night.
Card tables and ice chests and camping chairs decorated the pavement, along with stacks of paper plates and plastic silverware and Red Solo cups. The grill sizzled, red and gray coals in wait for chicken apple sausages and hot dogs from the local butcher. We scrawled our names in Sharpies and affixed them to our shirts. My three-year-old zoomed his fire truck over sidewalk cracks, eager for his friends to join him.
As the clock struck seven, nearly every door of every house on our block creaked open: Neighbor after neighbor left the comfort of their living rooms for the potential discomfort of shaking hands and greeting those who don’t look like them and act like them, for interactions with those who aren’t them.
Soon the card tables were filled to overflowing, with Sherry’s World Famous Mac and Cheese and Kaleo’s chicken and veggie stir-fry. Ellen, who sports an extra chromosome, beamed with pride as she offered a casserole dish of brownies, and Pierre smiled shyly, beaming over blueberry custard.
We came together, practicing hospitality with those who live within a stone’s throw. We dove into conversations with each other. We asked questions and we gave answers, we let it be awkward and we laughed at the children. We made connections and we practiced being what we already were to each other: Neighbors.
As I’ve gotten older, I like to think that I’ve become just a teensy bit wiser, mostly because I’ve eaten my fair share of humble pie—with every bite of that wisdom-filled dessert a result of the wide variety of humans I’ve interacted with along the way.
For all these humans, regardless of race and age, gender and religion, hold one unifying truth in common: We all just want to be known.
We want to be known and understood.
We want to hear our name spoken from another person’s mouth.
…and the list just keeps on going. Click here to read the rest of the words on being known, featured last week at the Mudroom. Otherwise, is the hypothesis true? Do we all simply want to be known and understood? Love love!0