Standing in Line
So often I get a note from someone after I send out the Sunday Letter that says, "I feel like you are reading my mind." or "That is just what I needed to hear. " That always makes me think I struck a chord.
The truth is of course that I am not a mind reader. I am just another little human being, out there in the world seeking and finding her way. Like you, I am waking up in the morning, grateful for the day. Hopeful that it will be a good day, one without upset or drama. Just one of those ordinary days, the days that when we are at our worst, bore us a little.
Here is why I think I strike a chord in these letters. I think it is because in many ways we are all more alike than different.
We might be different ages, different cultural backgrounds, have different experiences but most of all we are all human. Not one of us, not any single one of us is really more important than any other.
Some of us at times need a little extra love, maybe even some special treatment because we are falling behind in some way, or struggling. Sometimes one of us deserves a little extra celebration because we did something lovely. Or maybe it just our birthday. That's all fine and good and wonderful actually.
I remember years ago, when I first moved to Amherst, I would stand in a line up at the bank and a person would come in and go to a separate wicket that was just for certain customers. Every time I watched that happen I was slightly diminished as a young hard working woman who was just getting her feet under her. It made me feel "less than" even though that time I knew there was no such thing as one person being more important than another. My father had raised me on the expression, "We all put our pants on one leg at a time." Essentially, I was taught to believe that though I had no right to skip the line up in the bank, neither did anyone else. We are all the same.
Another time I was at one of those dinner theatre castles in Ireland in another line up and this man came in with a little entourage. He went to the head of the line up. As he was there I caught his eye, and raised my eyebrows and tilted my head at him, as if to say, "Well look at you now." And he nodded back to me, and warmly smiled and I like to think he understood exactly what I was thinking and felt it himself for a moment. For one reason or another at times people get to go to the head of the line up. I always think though that perhaps they could have used a different door?
Now I know there are exceptions, there's the Queen, there's Oprah, and then there's multitudes of people who are famous or feel they are. I just remember, though, that even Oprah or the Queen must stand alone sometimes in their kitchen with a grilled cheese sandwich and think, "I am just me." Sometimes they just want to sit with a book and read with a cup of tea and be just themselves. Even the very rich or the very famous must be alone with themselves at some point in each day and look in the mirror and see their own frailty. For they too are just another little human being out there in the world waking up hoping this will be a good day.
We are all equal in our humanity. We must understand this about each other.
We all love. We all struggle. We all escape. We all endure.
We are one in so many ways.
We are here together in this place.
Some of us are weak, some of us are strong.
Some of us are caring for those who need it, some of us are being cared for.
That is what we share, an understanding of what it is to be human. And that is why I write to you, because we are here in this place at the same time and we need to hear from each other.
Thank you for reading.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick