I’m so exhausted of being invited to witness people’s milestones but not being invited to witness their lives.
I attend weddings (and the accompanying engagement parties, showers, and bachelorette parties), graduations, birthday parties — the big life events. And yet I rarely get to see the life that happens in-between those milestones. As more and more friends already have their diplomas, wedding bands, and “big 3-0” behind them, I wonder what will happen when we have multi-year gaps between milestones. Are we friends? Or will we just re-acquaint at the next giant Christmas party, birth of a child, or alumni reunion?
What I want to say is that being invited to milestones isn’t enough. It doesn’t give me a full picture of your life — of you. It doesn’t allow me to witness to your life. (And worse, for those who are married, I am not able to assist in upholding you in your wedding vows — as you ask your community to do in the ceremony — if I’m not there between your marriage and divorce.)
I want to know what you’re going through in your life, and be with you in the times you aren’t going through anything. I want to talk about last night’s Jimmy Fallon and make tonight’s dinner and decide about going to next week’s concert. I want to know what your home looks like and where the tea is kept. I want to know what you think of Brooklyn 99 and maybe even sit next to you to watch the next episode. I want to show up for the little life events that don’t get embossed invitations, and I want you to show up to mine.
I don’t post this to shame my
friends acquaintances. I post it because I’m realizing that I’m not alone in this desire. I’ve had just a few fortuitous conversations in which people have shared their loneliness with me. They, like me, know plenty of people, but are without a tribe. And that situation is perpetuated by our silence, our shame, our misguided understanding that we are the only one, when it seems to be a cultural trend.
What is stopping us, as a culture? What stops us from inviting, committing, communing? What stops us from the mundane, glorious work of loving neighbor?