The Human Condition
“We want our stories heard, truly heard, without another agenda forced into our narrative.”
I had one major question rattling through my brain when Skylor and I embarked on our three week long journey through the southern border of the United States: what makes humans flourish?
After seeing two years of protests, hate speeches, rallies, shootings, and anger, I couldn’t help but wonder what we truly long for both as individuals and as a society. Would the right president and the right policies truly solve these deep longings? What if our government collapsed and we could only rely on each other? How would we go on?
I had no expectations for what the answer might be. I told myself, “Just be open, Lyndsey”. What transpired was beyond anything my mind could’ve configured on its own.
Highway 10 leaving Joshua Tree, California: all the drivers on the road who had airstreams (our house for three weeks), or just really loved airstreams, gave us a thumbs up or a sweet honk in solidarity for a cool ass rig.
Tucson, Arizona: the owners of the KOA who gave us a home cooked meal and beer since we spent all of the Fourth of July on the road.
Border of New Mexico and Texas: the officers who declined an interview with us, but told us to go to Angie’s and shared with us the stories and the people that restaurant had embraced in its walls.
San Antonio, Texas: the man in Coyote Ugly who could tell we did NOT want to be in there (neither did he) and decided to chat with us about his occupation instead of watching the hot ladies dance on the bar.
Austin, Texas: the workers of Live Oak Brewing Co who gave us a tour, free beer and beer koozies.
The stories of the kindness we were shown could go on for pages. They happened every day without expectation. My heart was spilling over with gratitude not only for what we received, but for what people were willing to share with us when we took the time to listen to their stories.
We met them where they were at, not pushing our own agenda. It was not tit for tat. It was for pure connection. To make yourself known to a stranger is no simple task, but day after day we experienced people showing their true nature through these stories and relentless hospitality.
In our individualistic society we deceive ourselves into thinking we can do life alone. But alone we are vulnerable, like a sheep drawn away from the heard and toward the foxes den. We want to be known not conformed, celebrated for our differences not ashamed. If you were to ask me the question I presented myself, “What makes us flourish?” I would undoubtedly tell you we want our stories heard, truly heard, without another agenda forced into our narrative. We want to be fully known.
What am I to do with these rich memories forever locked in my mind? In other words, now what? I must keep creating space for these experiences to happen on a daily basis. I invite you to do the same.
Our commission: let others be known to you through questions and (most importantly) listening.