J J Hanna
Where People Know My Name
There is a great number of people who desire to go somewhere "Where no one knows my name." For many, this signifies a new beginning, a chance to move on from anything in their past they didn't like. But this is not what I want. I want to go somewhere where people do know my name. To be known in our society is something precious, since we live in a way so as to avoid any unnecessary contact with others. We drive into a garage that's connected to our house, meaning that we never have to leave the security of our transportation bubble. I know for a fact that I am guilty of checking out the window during the summer to see if there are people at the pool, and if there are I have a tendancy to wait until they're gone. Some people think that I'm crazy for choosing to and being excited for moving to a small town in the middle of nowhere. My heart and soul longs for community, for people in my everyday passing life to know my name and feel comfortable greeting me by it. I have found some of this in my job this summer, but while I'm enjoying it now, I know that it will be gone too soon. And I like it. I found a little, out of the way coffee shop at the beginning of this week, and immediately upon walking in I felt like I'd been transported out of the big city and into a little town somewhere in the mountains. There were people talking to each other, and within moments of my being in line to order a latte the person in front of me said hello and asked how I was. Then, as I went to sit down, another customer pointed out an outlet for if I needed one. I didn't, I wasn't plugging anything in, but it was nice. It was nice to be noticed in a small-town way, especially living in a large city. So, in order to bless those around you, I encourage you to reach out to a stranger, or your neighbor, or go to the pool when others are out there, and at least say, "Hello." That simple little act can brighten their day and make space for relationship, which is one of the only ways to truly feel alive. One of my favorite characters said it well in Leverage: "This life is not worth living without the people that make us want to tear down those walls; the thrill of vulnerability, the danger of opening your heart. It makes us feel alive" (Sophie Devereaux, The Grave Danger Job). And if we never say hello, we can never find those people that we care enough about to "tear down those walls" that we put up to protect ourselves.