There are good humans everywhere. I know it. I’ve seen and felt it. When humans label themselves as one thing or another, I believe we miss a lot if we only see what’s on the label. Yes. We all do it. It feels safe. It takes the guessing away and means we don’t have to actually “work” to read what’s really underneath the label.
For instance, I have “labeled” myself as a musician, for the most part. My sub-labels can be “mother”, “wife”, or “friend”, but when someone asks me to label myself, I don’t typically say, “Hello. I’m Jessi. I’m a mother, wife and musician.” I just say, “I am a musician.” By doing so, a set of obvious expectations come from that. For example, that I can play an instrument, that I can sing, that I can entertain. Maybe I teach. The point is, when you label yourself as something willingly, there’s an unspoken set of assumptions one will have about you, and only upon further digging and listening will one get to know more.
I set this up this way to illustrate some observations.
Politics. Some come right out and say, “Hi! My name is XYZ, and I am a Democrat/Republican.” Thus, immediately defining how you may lead the conversation or see that person from that moment on. Same with religion, occupation, or sexual orientation. I understand this and this is all fine. We find comfort in our chosen labels. They help us find others with similar interests, looks, thoughts, goals, etc. As I said, it’s safe.
However, the extraordinary and unique aspect of what Jared, Rudyard, and I do every summer is that we get to peel those labels off one by one and start to get to know the varied and wonderful contents of what are inside each human we meet. Some labels stick on extra tough and we have to be gentle when removing, using care not to damage the thin layer of what someone may have worked their whole life to place just right, so they could find identity and purpose. But, all the same, the labels begin to disintegrate and what’s left is amazing. Heart. Relationship. Tragedy. Anger. Communion with another soul. The absolute fundamentals of what it is to wear our ultimate label, “Human”.
We have been fed, housed, brought into intimate and personal spaces to participate in family events, shared in grief, celebrated new beginnings, discovered joy in small things, helped with everyday goings on, trusted with other people’s children and animals, prayed with families, shared tea and had healing hands massage our sore bodies, been made gifts, laughed ourselves sick, and watched tears fall for lost friends and family. All of this experienced “under the label”.
One common thing we hear time and time again is that through our stories and our music and the love we have between us and for others, we “change lives”. If we do that at all, in any small way, it is because we are constantly being changed ourselves by the true beauty of humanity. We will do our best every time we are out to share with our readers all the things we discover “under the label”. I encourage all of you to do the same.
Thank you for traveling in the truck with us and sharing our stages and stories. All of you who read, commented, sent love in any way, we are beyond grateful. See you again next tour. This wraps our 2021 Summer Tour. Champagne Sunday, out. 💖