I decided a long time ago that marriage is basically just a really elaborate form of the buddy system. When things get rough, just remember that you’ve been assigned to each other, and that it’s your job to hold each other’s hands when crossing the street. Share your lunch. Check to make sure the other person is with you before the bus leaves the parking lot. Sometimes that's all we can handle. Sometimes that’s all any of us need.
And the older I get, the more I get that this theory extends to the other people in my life, too. Whoever’s in my tiny circle of friends, whoever’s still perched in my weird family tree, like it or not, we’ve all got each other’s names sewn into our hems. This might sound like too much responsibility, but honestly, it totally simplifies things.
Sometimes the events of the world seem too scary. Too big. I can’t control the way the nation votes tomorrow, or how folks respond in the days following that. A month ago, I was worried about how I couldn’t control which path a hurricane would take. And for a long time, in both cases, all evidence would’ve led me to believe we were doomed.
Just remember, sometimes it’s okay to tell all evidence to go screw.
Because it’s times like these that remind me that the buddy system is still in effect. We’ve all got our assignments. You know who you’ve got. It’s not usually a long list, but it’s still one that matters. And when things seem like they’re spiraling out of hand, I find it incredibly helpful and soothing to just run down my list and make a few calls.
How’s it going? How are the kids? Did your mom get through that surgery okay? Did you find someone to help you rake those leaves yet this year? Do you want me to help?
I know a lot of us are making phone calls these days to strangers in other states, trying to Get Out The Vote. And believe me, that’s very important work. But maybe we should also take an hour or so today to Get Out The Hope. Pick up the phone and call three people you know. Don’t ask about elections, or even possible natural disasters. Just check in on how well they’re managing with crossing the street. With figuring out what’s for lunch. With finding a seat on the bus at the end of a long, disorienting day.
That’s all we can do, some days. Just sew some more threads into the fabric that connects us to a few other people. Pat down some frayed edges. Patch up a hole or two. Remind each other (and yourself, while you’re at it) that we’re all in this together.
Because truly, we are.