Not long ago, a bunch of strangers got together at the end of a long summer day.
We brought picnic blankets and those clear plastic containers of cold pasta and fruit salad. We sat on the bumpy park lawn eating with our fingers and feeling the breeze against our loose shirts. When the sun set, the projector came down. Then the movie started.
As our heroine ran across the screen, a real, live band played the score on a stage set above the bumpy park lawn.
When things went right for our heroine, we strangers cheered, whooped, and clapped together, which we wouldn’t have done alone in our living rooms. When things went wrong for her, we were all on tenterhooks together, which is so much nicer than being on tenterhooks by yourself.
It seemed on that bumpy park lawn like we were part of something that was bigger than any one of us. The kind of thing that could only happen when people come together, that was sweet and connective and felt in the hearts that beat under our loose shirts.
And maybe it was because we were remembering that we people are capable of all sorts of things, including sitting picnic blanket-to-picnic blanket with strangers, sharing whoops, cheers, and some of our time here on earth.
When the credits rolled, we all applauded the movie and the band. We shook out, folded up our picnic blankets and tossed away our empty plastic containers.
And as we headed home at the end of a long summer day, the world seemed a little more whole and a little more kind.