This weekend, I visited a friend who lives in Gulf Shores. While there, I obtained a guest pass to his gym so I could walk the indoor track.
After all…It was 102 degrees outside.
I usually walk, headphones attached, while listening to a book on Audible. I am so focused on my walking and listening, that everything else fades to the background.
However, on this trip, I had forgotten to pack my headphones. Therefore, I told myself that I would still walk 30 times around the track, even if it meant I would walk in complete silence.
But that’s not what really happened.
Strolling in staggered syncopation, were several other gym goers: mainly middle aged and older. Some walked in pairs chatting happily with each other, while the single walkers spoke to each other, in the easy pattern of familiarity, as they passed.
Without the earphones, I could catch snippets of conversations from the social walkers: movie critiques, family updates and a bit of salacious gossip surrounding the gym manager and her new boyfriend.
But it was the lone walkers who surprised me. Each one, as we passed, wished me “good afternoon”; asked “how I was doing?”; or made some other verbal nicety. I was not a regular to this gym, but for an instant I was part of this tribe.
The afternoon old farts walking club.
And the sense of belonging and inclusion began as a warm feeling in my chest that spread quickly over my body and added a bounce in my step.
I found myself smiling and even greeting new walkers like they were old friends. It was a pleasant afternoon.
How interesting that the feeling of inclusion and acceptance could trigger such warmth and a confidence to pay it forward.
The whole experience reminded me of our innate need to belong…to be a part of something…to have a tribe.
After the walk, I showered and changed before returning to my friend’s house. He was watching the evening news. A young attorney for immigrant’s rights spoke up about the treatment of hundreds of immigrant children in “holding camps”. The description of how the children were warehoused and treated brought tears to my eyes.
Politics aside, whether pro or anti immigration…I liked to think we were all pro human rights. Whereas I had just returned from a brief, but welcoming experience, these children were not made to feel “a part of” anything. Instead they were made to feel “less than”…
My blog is not about social work today. It is about “human” work. It is about the belief that All Humans Have Worth. It is about breaking away from strict party lines and focusing on the needs of all children. As Americans, we need to use our voice to shout…
When did we, as a country that proclaims freedom so loudly, stop caring? I dont think we did.
I think there are enough Americans, both Republicans and Democrats who have been as disturbed as I, to see these children suffer. But caring is not enough. We also need to speak up: raise our voices in whatever way we can to be heard.
Silence implies submission,
Submission implies acceptance…
Acceptance implies Agreement.
We dont agree.
Let’s not be Silent.