Ice Cream is Life

Last week a conversation starter was posed, “what is the most sensible thing you have ever heard someone say?” My friend responded that her grandfather often said, “You don’t have to be the best, but you always have to do your best.” My response was, “everyone matters, or no one matters.” This edict came from Michael Connelly’s character Harry Bosch from the noir series of the same name. I have consumed a startling number of Connelly novels since moving to Maryland.

In Katie Luse’s memoir “Ruby Joy,” the author describes her daughter, born with multiple disabilities, as one of the most important people in the world. I highly encourage folks to read “Ruby Joy.” I further suggest listening to the audiobook as Luse provides the narration. Listening to a mother’s perspective on the needs of a child with disabilities in her voice is powerful. Last year, Luse presented as a guest speaker in one of my courses. Her talk was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life as a teacher.

These two ideas come together for me as my interactions with those Target serves increase. Last week Gail organized a photo shoot for our annual appeal mailer. Many of you will soon see the result of her hard work in your mailboxes. About half of those folks served in our Carroll County residential homes were present. We had a great time taking our pictures and afterward had a bit of a Target takeover at Hoffman’s Homemade Ice Cream.

With milkshakes, banana splits, and cups of ice cream in hand, we migrated to the outdoor seating area near the parking lot. As clients and staff, we came together to enjoy this outing with laughter and conversation. It was a great afternoon.

It is my most profound belief that we are all unique as individuals but ultimately the same as a human family. Our differences do not make us any more or any less. No degree of difference crosses an imaginary line, resulting in one’s life being less valuable than that of the other. Either we are, or we are not. All evidence points to the fact that we most definitely are.

Some of us may need a different level of support to participate in a photoshoot or enjoy the delight of a local ice cream outing. But isn’t the opportunity to provide support to another, to lend a hand, the secret sauce of human interaction? Is it not interdependence that forms the fabric of society? I think so, and I’m humbled by this lesson daily in my interaction at Target.