Keeping each other company on the way home | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | Jun 30, 2016

The window displays at C’Est La Vie, a colorful Fifth Avenue shop in downtown Edmonds, always catch my eye.

I cannot walk past the brightly-lit shop windows without stopping to admire something. Displays show a catchy assortment of ever-changing stock – which includes home décor, jewelry, unique furniture items, cool things to hang on the wall or to give as gifts – too much to mention.

Recently, I spotted an item in the window of C’Est La Vie printed with an unfamiliar saying. It wasn’t a showy item, but the words lettered on it still are with me – and I won’t forget them. So what was the saying?

“We are all just walking each other home.” That’s it. Now, typing those words, I realize they have a sort of ordinary look. A couple of people I’ve shared the sentence with have actually responded, “What’s that mean?”

Here’s what the words mean to me. I think we are intended to claim community with one another, to look out for each other, even if we are solitary by nature – which I actually am. I’m not talking about some weird artificial closeness. I’m thinking more of an acknowledgement of shared humanity, no labels, no judging.

We’re all in this together. We might as well try to help each other out, rather than get in each other’s way. It’s OK that we disagree. We don’t have to prove we’re right! I think we just have to grit our teeth sometimes and get over ourselves. Actually, I should say that I, personally, need to grit my teeth sometimes and get over myself.

Yes, there are terrible people doing terrible things in the world. Always have been. Always will be. But the rest of us? Most of us? I would submit that most of us are doing the best we can with what we have to work with – and that we have hidden strengths not yet tested.

The thing is, we all are afraid, whether or not we admit it. We often feel helpless, worried sick about what life holds for us, our children and grandchildren. There’s plenty to worry about – earthquakes, suicide bombers, assault rifles, heroin epidemics, threatened personal freedoms and the presidential election – for starters.

The thing is, though, that we are meant to affirm one another, to hope for the best for each other, somehow, even when we are at odds.

I believe we are designed to respond to one another, sometimes in joy but often – perhaps most often – in sorrow, confusion or despair. We are meant to notice one another’s pain, to lean upon one another’s strengths, to shore up one another’s courage when it wanes.

So, yes, we are all just walking each other home – wherever that is.

I’ll be here in two weeks with more thoughts related to this topic – unless, of course, I’ve gone off on some other tangent by then. In any case, I hope you’ll join me, home again in Edmonds.


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