In my last post, I mentioned that there is a common thread that connects humanity. “The human experience is the same regardless of geography. There is a basic longing for food, shelter, and the betterment of future generations (our children). This basic longing knows no borders or political stripes.” People are my most valuable asset. People who’ve invested in me emotionally, spiritually, academically, and financially undergird me through my NYC voyage.
One thing stands out from my travels within the US and abroad – we are more alike than different. Unfortunately, we focus on the small areas of difference such that it festers like a sore and infects even what was once good. However, I am encouraged when I meet people from various walks of life and despite initial first impression, we find that thread of connectivity. Everywhere I have lived, I try to recreate a family support unit that resembles the warmth I recall from my childhood. During law school, once a month I hosted Sunday dinner. Sunday dinner with family is something that immediately invokes home for me.
In the concrete jungle of NYC, creating or finding kindred souls is not an easy task. New Yorkers are tough and they don’t readily expose their warm underbelly. Yes they have a soft side but seeing it is trying to see the soft side of a gator or croc. May 25th marked my two year anniversary in NYC. And it took that long for me to find people to become part of my NY family. My NYC family doesn’t physically resemble my biological family, but in all other respects it replicates home.
Recently, I met a small group of 20, 30, 40 something NY dwellers. We represent various ethnic, racial, and cultural groups. However, the tie that binds is when we allow the walls to fall and commune over the table. There is something about the family table the always reminds me of home. Our group met this week to celebrate the graduation of another, Joyce. She’s young and talented and was the commencement speaker at her convocation. Before now, she and I had only spoken briefly. This time she was with her parents. The group agreed on a potluck, which I love because it is like an international food feast. As I spoke with her father, it reminded me of my relationship with my late father – dearly beloved and missed. As her mother prepared bamia in the kitchen, it was as if it was Sunday back home.
Over the meal that reflected so much diversity, we discovered commonality. Our mothers raised us the same even though we came from different countries and cultures. Talk about brothers and sisters from another mother! We huddled near the computer screen to hear Joyce’s address. As I listened, it struck a chord because it tied in with themes in my blog, particularly the power of people assets.
Below is a link to Joyce’s speech. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Could it be possible that we can find authentic community on the web? We can’t commune over the family table but I think we do over the blog and for a brief moment we’re just family swapping stories. See you next time “Sitting ‘Round the Kitchen Table.” That is the working title of my third book. Just waiting for an agent and publisher to snap me up 🙂