A Country Divided

This image is interesting to me. Its my driveway, but it also represents a demarcation line between my house and the house next to me. We can cross this line. We can have no idea who lives on the other side of the line. In some cases, we might even hate the people over there. We can definitely wave to each other across the line, but ultimately, I live on one side and my neighbor lives on another. Kind of like politics – isn’t it?

Recently a bipartisan group of politicians decided crossing the line is an absolute emergency. The people who steadfastly live on their own sides of the “driveway” refuse to go over and chat with their neighbor. They may pass some messages, but no neighborly interactions are happening. I was pleased to see the politicians that decided to step forward and try. They may not succeed, but for me, they will be remembered for trying.

They are trying to address the increased homelessness and housing crisis we will likely face in a matter of days. They are trying to manage hunger many families are facing. They are trying to keep restaurants and small businesses afloat. It is likely not perfect – we are not going to make everyone happy – but it is an effort. A conscious effort by people who work for their constituents not for themselves.

The cold has made these metaphorical lines between us more intense. I don’t see many people out walking or running. It is harder to make attempts to connect with the people in my neighborhood – to cross the lines. Last week, I had a lovely conversation with an elderly neighbor of mine about her Thanksgiving plans. We stood outside, she had her mask on, and she petted my dog. She talked about seeing her great-grandchild. It felt like the most normal thing in the world, and at the end, neither of us really wanted to leave.

Our starvation for human connection is deepening the lines and driveways between us. The fences feel as though they are getting higher. I think about certain people in my life and wonder if the relationships will ever be repaired or rekindled – do they need to be? What do I find unacceptable in others so that I can no longer tolerate them in my circle? I have thought long and hard about this because 2020 has taught me so much about the people in my life.

I would like to challenge more people to “cross the driveway”. Maybe start with a wave or a hello. If you’re out for walk, compliment someone’s coat or dog. We know how to be kind to each other, we just have to want to.

I won’t muse about the symbolism of the cemetery across the street in this picture. I will let you all ponder what it means to you after reading this post.

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