On the eve of Trump’s inauguration, we invited strangers into our home. My husband and I and a friend had signed up for Mika’s, a local community development organization, Share Your Table program. We got matched up with a Mexican immigrant family with the hope of creating understanding and friendship in our town. We were a little nervous, as one always is when welcoming new people into your home. The couple and their two young children joined us for dinner and I could tell that they were a bit nervous too. They were dressed up in dresses and collared shirts, their children’s hair shining with styling gel and care. We all shook hands too hard and greeted too much, overly polite, covering our insecurities with eagerness.
After the initial nervous introductions, we settled in. Within minutes we realized that we are brothers and sisters in Christ and that knowledge gave us a more solid footing. We laughed, we ate, we played games and told stories of God’s hand on our lives. We arrived at stories of tragedy and found that there is commonality in our pain. Some shared the pain of losing family to AIDS. Some shared the pain of growing up fatherless. And we also found commonality in our dreams. We talked about our side hustles and the things we are saving for in order to see our children prosper. We commiserated over long days and exhaustion, the very act of sharing it giving us renewed energy. And then, despite our tiredness we did dishes together and promised to connect again soon.
Since President Trump’s election, I have marched. I have written letters. I have participated in actions to make our immigrant neighbors seen and heard, reminding our new president of the promise of liberty and justice for all. But that night our resistance to hate and intolerance was sharing our table with neighbors previously unknown to us. That night resistance looked like drawing pictures when translation broke down, finding a way to arrive at understanding. That night resistance tasted like pizza. That night resistance felt like good news. That night strangers became friends.