Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses of flesh and reasoning — the ones who have walked a tightrope in life and found the fall to be most relieving. That’s how to saying goes, right? Maybe I read it wrong. There’s something profoundly soothing about being in a room with people who are honest. Even on your worst day, they can be torch bearers, friends, and quiet compatriots on the same ship sailing off to an unfamiliar horizon. Today is not my worst day, and yet it’s true even now. 

I know people. Wait, we all know people. Ok, hang on. Let me restart. I know people who have been to the gutter and back and lived to relay the rip-roaring story to others. I know people whose ships were commandeered by a host of demons, and who were then forced to surrendered their floundering vessels. Those thieving pirates didn’t know the boat was full of holes anyway! Joke’s on them! They were thrown violently into small lifeboats in the middle of nowhere, alone with their misery, regret, and even, in most cases, a small, shining hope that the lifeboat would see them safely to another shore. 

We all make landfall there. Now we drink coffee and talk about life as it was and how it is. When we do, this invisible thread laces itself through the warm hearts of kindred spirits and I realize how intricately bound I am to people I don’t know very well. I am relieved by this. 

None of us scalawags are really alone! We have our stories, and as sad as they were to some and even to ourselves, they are the very currency we use to secure what we need here on Earth. Trade your story with someone. They’ll do the same. At the end of it all, we’ll realize we’re all the same and different. We’ll feel kinship with each other. And isn’t that what we set sail to find anyway? I may have thought I cast my sail in the direction of trade winds that would take me to some foreign land filled with loot, but then I look across the table. It’s there. It’s right there in front of me.