Connection can be found all around us if we pay attention.
Sometimes we long for it. Sometimes connection seeks us out when we are not looking. When the sight of something familiar flickers across our panorama unexpectedly, and a memory yawns awake. Or perhaps a slow “oh yeah” grin lifts our faces for a moment.
It’s the connection we may have with the almost forgotten that binds us closer to those in that familiar place. Those that matter to us in some timeless way.
As these days rapidly approach the third and final stage of my trip through the States, connection is what I feel permeating my travels. Amidst the mad-dashing between cold weather and less-cold weather places, it’s this connection that has kept my spirits warm, if not my fingers and toes.
Connection is found in light banter between me, belted in the aisle seat, and the older, bearded man snug in the middle seat beside me. From where we sit – back in the second to last row – the backs of heads of other passengers lining down the middle of our plane, eagerly shuffling their carry-ons under the curved ceiling, my neighbor and I express our doubts.
Together, we strangers wonder out loud if the herd in front of us will assemble and exit quickly enough for the both of us to catch our connection in Charlotte. My connection with him is brief, our urgency shared, and then we are out! Hustling to be air-born once more, and flying towards different cities, likely to never again meet.
Connection shows up in the form of a busy, tired friend, who jumps into the airport pick-up van anyway, solely as a passenger, just to fetch me and greet my arrival in the middle of a chilly night after his long day and my long flight.
Connection is the feeling that warms you as you exit the revolving glass doors of the Baggage Claim into a crowded night of headlights and frosty breath, knowing there is a friend out there in the chaotic cold dark.
Looking left, the headlights in fog guiding the silhouette of this friend in my direction, the outline of his beanie and pocketed hands walking towards me with a grin I am sure is there but can’t see. Greeted with a hug and a “Let me take that” as my suitcase handle is removed from my hand.
Connection is the feeling of others looking after you, if only for a moment or two.
It’s the deep, open-hearted peering down into boarded-up memories, into events from years ago that shaped our souls. Connection is this same peering down into the bottom of the whisky glass, speaking from this same heart, and being heard.
It’s the passionate, seasoned speaker connecting with the rapt, listening audience.
Connection trickles down printed words into the cupped focused eyes of the reader.
Connection is revived in memory, as my plane next touched down into a familiar landscape. A place where the trees have shuddered nearly all of their reds, golds, and yellows onto the chilly brown earth, the twiggy stems waving me a stiff welcome back to the South in the fall.
Connection is vibrant in mornings with family; waking to my uncle’s hot coffee already waiting for me in the pot, and filling my aunt’s Sea Hawks mug to the brim, appreciating this rare moment I get to stay in their house again.
Spiraling outwards, connection ripples wider as relatives of every age and height let themselves in the front door throughout the day, exciting the hyper German Shepard who bounds past our legs, a soggy chewed toy in his jaws.
And when I meet, for the first time, the newest and youngest member of the family, it’s connection I see in his 10-month-old baby blues. The same tint of color that reflect in my own eyes, though the eyes of his parents are both Bambi-brown. Somehow my own genes have delightfully navigated their way into the next generation, once again.
Connection has a voice, and it sounds like laughter in the kitchen. It sounds like crackling, fire-side chats where peaceful words re-stitch wounds that life has sliced open in the years since we’ve been away.
And later, tucking myself into a corner of a plush couch in a cozy living room, I sign personal notes on the inside cover of each copy of Soul Shaping Tails I have stacked by my side. These copies of my book have been requested by someone whose connection with me remains strong, and each permanent penstroke remembers.
Some of these books I am mailing back to countries I once lived in decades ago; the connection as unbreakable as a diamond, as unforgettable as our own names.
As I sign their names, my heart stirs with connection to each of them. The adventures we may have had, the heartbreaks, or the ridiculous and hilarious moments.
We are all connected still.
I don’t feel that Connection believes in Time. Connection is alive in our past, and as much in our present. We can feel it in a flash with strangers and new friends. We seek it out with old friends, and with faraway friends. We trust it lives still with family we’ve always known, and I trust it lives within family I have just met.
Life flies us so high, into the sun sometimes, then, without warning or reason, can tumble us down into the darkest gulch.
This momentous, tumultuous, and exhilarating life punctuated with joy and tears and chaos and bliss – what centers me in those moments, with those people, in these places . . . .What realigns me with my own purpose time and time again is the connection I hold so dearly with them all.
So pay attention. And look within. Hold close these moments of Connection we are gifted.