This summer was unlike most summers. I was not home for quite some time. Almost three months to be exact. I love my home comforts so this was truly something that stretched me a bit.
During my time away from home, we drove through 21 states and visited, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC (I know it’s not a state), New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Texas, and Arizona which was our last stop before reaching our final destination California. There were quite a number of states we had to drive through to reach each “visited” destination. It was an amazing excursion across our Country.
What did I observe?
We are a divided country wanting the same things. We are a diverse country that wants the same things. We are a country with a beautiful landscape. We are a country whose infrastructure is in desperate need of repair. We are a country whose cost of living varies from state to state and so does the quality of life for those who live in those states.
I cannot imagine anyone who travels across this country and engages with the locals who does not walk away with a different appreciation of their own life. The bottom line…we all want the same things. How we get to them is what varies. Our politics divide us, but our needs and wants unite us. Gentle conversations lay down the guards that we hold up because of fear.
If we could just lay down our “righteous swords” and our “fears”, then we can work together and move forward.
Did we experience any unusual moments – yes, we did. We felt the eyes of local patrons stare at us letting us know we were strangers in a foreign land. It was the first time in my life that I felt uncomfortable in my skin. But we sat, broke bread, and moved on.
As a country, we may have come a long way, but we have an even longer way to go, and it takes each one of us to make a difference.
Would I drive across the country again…absolutely…there is still more to see and learn from our fellow Americans.
We cannot gain respect and understanding without entering into spaces that are foreign.
We must show up for each other, no matter how uncomfortable that may seem.
Wisdom in engagement is what will close the divide that is hurting us!
Let’s do better. Let’s break bread together!