Just about finished with this book, Braving The Wilderness. Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors, and although I didn’t connect with this book as much as some of her others, this part stood out to me. As a self proclaimed introvert, getting close up to people I didn’t feel connected with was out of the question. Holding hands with strangers?! Terryifing! Give me my few close friends I can trust, and try to avoid uncomfortable, awkward conversations with everyone else.
Yet I started feeling something over the years. I started feeling those short connections with people throughout my day had a purpose…a place in my life. Being a part of a patient’s “story”, even if just for one visit, changed my life and theirs. Laughing about something with a stranger while standing in line….a stranger I would probably never see again…meant something. The short, little relationships I built conversing with an older woman in the grocery, or the few months of working with a student at my job…or the 2 hour conversation with the person sitting next to me on an airplane. They all have a place in my life.
“Hold hands. With strangers.” I feel like as I’m becoming more open to connection, I am slowly seeing things in a whole new light. I’m realizing the connection we all have with one another by something bigger than us. In a world of separation, where people fight, group themselves by political belief, view the world as “us versus them”…we may slowly be losing that connection. While trying to belong, we are slowly making it so we feel like we don’t belong anywhere.
“Connection is why we are here. We are hard-wired to connect with others.”
As I’m moving forward in a business that requires networking and connection (the 2 things that have always terrified me the most in life), I’m finding myself grateful for the vulnerability and realness people share…grateful that because of a little conversation with a stranger, I now can pray for their struggles they opened up about. Grateful for a letter I got from a “stranger” I have not actually met thanking me for helping change her life.
It is not my first instinct to start a conversation with someone. I never would have pictured myself reaching out to hold hands with strangers. But what if more of us did that? What if we realized we are all in this world together instead of against each other? What if we actually smiled when we passed someone. What if we started more friendly conversations? What if we embraced all the little connections, no matter how brief or seemingly insignificant, as a part of our journey?