Such a little word. Three letters, one syllable. It is often overlooked, much maligned and often disregarded. But it has a mighty job. People often replace it with a comma and while that is fine, it doesn’t tell the whole story. A comma will relate words together but ‘and’ binds them. Husband and wife. Peanut butter and jam. Melodies and lyrics. War and peace. I could continue. There are things that belong together, the word ‘and’ ensures that they do.
As is so often true it is the little things that make the difference. ‘And’ is a word that doesn’t just bring things together it connects them. Rogers and Hammerstein were great individual artists but put them together and they made magic. Their music is timeless. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were brilliant performers but when they danced together, they were the quintessential couple. Think of foods that are better because they have been combined. Peanut butter is great on a cracker but add jam and put it between two pieces of bread . . . you have a childhood favourite. And, I might add, a few adults…
As a species we need to associate with another in order to procreate, to evolve. We also need connections to enhance our quality of life. If we keep breathing, we can stay alive but in order to have an actual life we need relationships. That is why we have cities and towns, communities for protection and for sustainability. We are social creatures. Very few are true isolationists. Some do prefer to live alone but there will always be a connection somewhere even if it is tenuous. In the animal world it is the same thing. Some do live a singular life but there is a need, a compulsion to come together to reproduce.
When we have healthy competition, we will strive for betterment. When we have mutual support, we can reach for the stars. It is only when we are together that we can achieve greatness. And if we are simply the audience to that greatness, we are still part of the whole picture. Even the lowliest of seeds has the potential to become a great oak with the right support.
The world needs to understand that we are better collectively. When the coronavirus first hit, the world came together to fight the devastation. We work stronger, more efficiently when we are a team, when we are us.
Do you know what else ‘and’ has done? It has brought together you and I. I think that’s pretty special.