Today I went into a bank to get a cashier’s check and inadvertently handed the teller a card from a competitor. He looked at it, then fixed his eyes on me with an intensity that made me check my wallet. I realized what I had done, and started apologizing like a cheating spouse. “I’m sorry, um, you all have my business account and I really like you . . .” He started to laugh and said, “I just wasn’t sure how to tell you that you were at the wrong bank.”
And there was the beautiful truth — neither one of us was angry, we were both simply worried about how the other person felt. Our realization made us both start laughing, probably more than the moment warranted. It was as if we were both tiptoeing back into socialization; trying to remember how to interact with someone who didn’t currently live in our home or neighborhood.
We have all developed a grudging appreciation of the past year; the lack of traffic, the security of only being around those we love (unless the loved ones also happen to annoy the heck out of us), the resurgence of nature. And while we have missed each other, we also have to learn, again, exactly how to interact. We are all raw nerves in clothing, walking around trying to adjust to the sunshine, wondering what might surprise us next.
I believe, deep down, we have an elevated sense of compassion for each other. We know that, collectively, we faced a world crisis that did not immediately include solutions. That is some dark stuff. Now that we have some solutions, we are not emerging confidently, but with the hesitancy of someone who has been locked away and has to regain their sea legs. The darkness is still there, but it’s a lot more like dusk.
As we Bambi our way out our front doors, we need to remember that we’ll grow stronger again. Our social skills will return. Our laughter will grow. More importantly, we will find a way to reconnect. Never has there been a more important time to share whatever light we have with each other.
In the day (which means I’m old and wise), we used to call bands back on the stage during encores by waving a Bic lighter in the air. Considering the amount of Farrah hair and alcohol in the vicinity it probably wasn’t the safest move, but we lived on the edge. Plus, many of us were wasted, But it felt good to sway back and forth with those lights shining in the dark. Not only were we lighting up everyone around us (hopefully not literally), we were acknowledging musicians who had given us everything they had; they had connected us with their music.
So we would light up the stadium and wave our Bics and cheer for however long it took for them to return. Because we appreciated their effort. And, we were wasted.
We each have our own light to share, something that helps others connect. It comes from your soul and illuminates your eyes. It is your passion and your heart and your reason for being. Use it. We all need each other right now, and no matter how we’ve reacted to this past year, those reactions were in response to our deep, cavernous fears. We just faced a dark year, and lived with our shadows. It’s time to bring some light to the situation.
So whatever you can give, even if it’s just a momentary laugh with a bank teller, light up that emotional Bic. We need you.