Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
Now and then, the magnificent web of humanity emerges from its invisibility cloak. You realize that in your struggle to survive, you’re connected to people you’ve never met—occasionally more deeply than you’re connected to family or friends.
Recently, a woman was in a government office for an official interview when the tone changed abruptly. She mentioned the domestic violence she had endured in her past, and her interviewer immediately ceased to be primarily a function. She, too, had suffered a horrific incident of domestic violence. The two transformed from people operating in an official capacity to women forever bound by memories they will never forget. They shared a few tears and then encouragement, because the ultimate revenge is to move on, stronger than ever. They didn’t need to stay in touch. They’re connected.
As my daughter recovers herself after the unexpected early loss of her husband, she has discovered that her wounds are an invitation. Almost daily, she encounters others who have suffered almost intolerable losses. Her open heart invites them to share their sorrow. As they grieve together, she and the other, they feel the connection. They know they understand something others can only imagine. They rise above the platitudes, the petty differences that divide others. Together, they’re stronger—even if they don’t continue to communicate after that first conversation. They’re attached. The vulnerability and resilience of one becomes greater strength for both.
My daughter emanates enormous power because she isn’t afraid to be vulnerable. She isn’t afraid to step away from her own tragedy to help illuminate and balm the tragedies of someone else. Her love heals. We as humans spend so much time fearing one another. We evolved to be wary of anyone from a different tribe. We carry our emotional spears constantly prepared for battle and look for signs that the person we’re facing might be an enemy. But battle readiness separates us. Our fear of the few isolates us from the many with whom we share all the joys and sorrows of human existence. We developed the handshake to reassure the other that we won’t use our spears. But we’re afraid to use our handshakes.
A YouTube video that circulated wildly recently showed a man on a commuter train who’s supposedly reading something on his iPad. As he reads, he begins to laugh. His laugh swells into guffaws, ripples of belly-shaking amusement. As his laughter grows, those around him begin to smile, then to chuckle, and finally, the car is filled with laughter. Likewise, I was relieved to discover that, like me, many people weep openly at funerals—even if the deceased is a stranger. We can’t escape the surge of sadness.
Deep human emotions are energy tracks of the web of humanity. They remind us that we’re part of something much larger, that we have more in common than those details that divide us. No wonder deeply emotional films such as TITANIC resonate around the world and hover in human consciousness after the explosions of popular action movies have been replaced by bigger, more impressive explosions. We are bound, you and I, and that is our power.