Ordering vegetarian at a Midwest steak house is getting easier, but still has its awkward moments. It can be a little like wearing a bathing suit at a nude beach. The looks say, “Maybe you would be happier elsewhere.” The table conversation slows as my dinner companions brace for my order, wondering how… and why? The not-so-tiny voice in my head: “You’re so high maintenance. Always a bother.”
This time was different. This time, three little words and the truth behind them changed everything. With a warm smile and knowing eyes, the server took my order, saying simply, “I got you.” And she did.
It was a casual, off-the-cuff remark. Yet, against the backdrop of the situation and the world outside – where the dividing lines are growing deeper and more fraught – it felt to me like a real kindness. A genuine gesture of ally-ship.
I hear it more and more now. “I got you.” Also heard as, “Igotchyoo.” Listen for it. This subtle yet distinct offering of human compassion is sprinkled throughout many a place and day right here in our community. In a way, it’s radical in its unremarkable, even unconscious, activism.
While it can be heard as an insignificant turn of phrase, it points quite profoundly to a basic human need – one many of us are feeling more acutely right now. The need for connection and support. The need to know that we are not alone and that we care enough to listen to each other and try to understand, respect, and take care of each other.
I got YOU. I got ME. I got US. It gently invites all in earshot to incline toward kindliness and care.
In that spirit, here is a big offering of “I got you” to everyone at the Center … all those in our sitting groups, workshops, study groups, retreats … our neighbors in Dundee and beyond … all the black lives that matter … all our LGBTQIA2S+ friends … black, indigenous, and people of color … those suffering around the world … and to our planet.
I got you. I really do.