The best conversations between my boys happen when I’m not there – or, to speak a little more clearly, when my children think I’m not there.
As their ever-present, all-knowing mother, I hide behind doors and listen to their words when they think I’m upstairs drinking my tea. I sit in the front seat of the car, when they, absorbed in carseat conversation two feet behind me, forget that I can hear everything they have to say.
“Brother, you love the superhero, Spiderman? I love the superhero, Spiderman!”
“Is white mac and cheese your favorite food ever? Because white mac and cheese is my favorite food ever.”
“Do you want to learn how to go potty on the big boy potty this weekend, brother? I love going potty on the big boy potty, and I know you’ll love it, too!”
Time and time again, they wiggle and worm their way through conversation in an effort to discover what they have in common. And I don’t think it’s too different for us big kids, too: whether with strangers or with friends, we move our jaws and find our words until we find that shared point.
We, too, fight for commonality.
I suppose it comes naturally for some of us, more so than it does for others – and whatever the connector streak inside of you (or lack there of), that too is okay. I don’t often realize that connecting is my thing until I meet someone new. But it’s like I was born to play the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Solidarity is found when I’m able to help you and serve you in this way. Somehow, I find my heart more tightly knit with yours when you know the same people I know, when you order truffle fries with extra cheese sauce from the same little hole-in-the-wall restaurant I love, too.
Because for all of us – connectors or not – linking hearts with another human involves the holiest of phrases, “me, too.”
When I meet someone else who’s in the throes of transition, who’s searching for their people and their place and even their grocery store, too, I nod my head in affirmation. Me, too.
When I meet someone in ministry, who struggles to raise support and has a hard time explaining what they do for a living, because it’s such a weird, holy mix of heart and mind and paycheck, I know where they’re coming from. I’ve been in the same boat. Me, too.
And when I meet someone whose family looks similar to mine – a dada with chocolate brown skin, and a mama with creamy white skin and a couple of caramel-colored babies thrown in the mix – I smile and I say, “I get it. I understand what you’re going through, here, in this place. I am in this with you.”
Me, too. Me, too. Me, too.
But what of those whom we don’t have anything in common with?
I think we still fight for commonality. We still seek to find the “me, too” of the equation.
Remember the neighbor I told you about a couple of weeks ago, the one who called me on the not-remembering-her-name carpet?
She likes to read books. I like to read books.
She has a dog. I once had a dog (and Mr. Darcy was his name).
She likes to garden. And, as it turns out, we like to try and make things grow in dirt as well.
Our conversations haven’t extended much beyond that, but I’m still fighting. I’m still calling her by name when we’re out on walks, and I’m still inquiring as to which books she recently picked up at the local Goodwill (because, as she divulged, she goes every Monday, because that’s when the best shipments come in). And I don’t know if we’ll ever share a meal together, or if I’ll ever see the inside of her house, but that doesn’t matter.
I’m still trying. I’m still fighting. I’m still remembering.
And maybe, in these little conversations – the little conversations that really are, in the end, the big conversations – all of these little commonalities matter. Because it’s just one more “me, too” to throw into the lot.
And that makes us feel not so alone in this world, don’t you think?
How do you fight for commonality? How do you find those two words, “me, too” to be more important than any other set of words?0