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"Can You Relate?"

Recently, there have been a couple of songs that I have been playing on repeat. One is People by Jeffery East & Home Free and the other is Relate by for King & Country. The lyrics of both these songs talk about how we are all human, how we need to realize that we are more alike than different.

I like Home Free's song as it says that "we are all just people" and

"We're all just human, making mistakes

And love is what we do, man

Just doing the very best we can

'Cause on the other side, He ain't checking labels".

I find that this thought is such a necessary one in order to best understand both those around us and those who came before us.

So often we think that we modern people are the only humans. Sometimes we forget that those throughout history were human too. They saw in color and they ate yummy food.

On a recent trip to Colonial Williamsburg, my husband and I spent time talking with the interpreters. One of the themes through out many of our discussions was of the imperfections that humanity has - both now and especially those who came before us.

One of the most heart touching stories that I heard on this trip {the play Your Truly Affectionate Sister} is the story of Sarah Galt Trebell (keep an eye out for more about her) and her brother Dr. John Galt. They were siblings who were adults during the American Revolutionary War. Yet, they struggled with many problems we face today. Sarah struggled with infertility and wanting to protect her little brother (just the way any big sister does). John struggled with not being able to help or cure his sister's infertility and wanting his sister to see his side of the war (he took care of soldiers after the battle of Yorktown at the Palace in Williamsburg). Can you relate? I can relate to wanting to care for a younger brother yet having to let him go and grow up and be his own person with his own decisions.

We also heard the story of Dolly and James Madison, in a play called From the Ashes, which was set after the burning of the Capital in the War of 1812. Initially this seems outside of Colonial Williamsburg's time period, yet we often forget that some of the founding fathers lived into the 19th century.

The idea that struck me with this program was how little we know of Dolly Madison in our history textbooks. I had grown up with the picture that she was an extrovert and loved big parties. However, the interpreter portrayed a different side to Mrs. Madison. The interpreter shared the behind the scenes melancholy that Mrs. Madison struggled with along with life as a wife sharing a husband's responsibilities. While I am not the wife of a president, as the wife of a graduate student I can relate to the struggles of helping to carry a husband's stress.

The final story that we saw of humanity was that of the Washingtons. At the beginning of the week, my husband and I attended a program by the Colonel and Mrs. Washington as they discussed the possibility of his return to the military. Then near the end of the week we attended the play My Dear Madam, in which Mrs. Washington writes a return letter to Mrs. Abigail Adams at the end of the eight years of President Washington's term of service. Mrs. Adams had written requesting advice about how to be the president's lady. One of the points that I relate to the most in both of these programs is the idea that the actions of the wife reflect on the husband as well as the husband on the wife.

For King and Country in their song ask, "Can you Relate?"

"I don't know what it's like to be you

You don't know what it's like to be me

But by the grace of God, we'll see each other's heart

Can you, can you relate?"

I find all of these women and their stories very relatable. Yet, it takes work to see the others around us through all their flaws and messiness sometimes. We may not understand what it is like to stand in someone else's shoes whether historical or modern, but our world is better when we take the time.

Throughout this blog I endeavor to tell the relatable human stories that inspire us and remind us that we all have a job to do to make this a more perfect union. Whether you're walking the streets of Colonial Williamsburg or reading the news about Afghanistan, take time to see those around you.


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