I have always been intrigued by the connections that people seem to form — how they form, why they form, are they fleeting or are they lasting. Sometimes those connections are evident from an early age — like you were destined to be best friends with that kid you met on the first day of school. Some are formed without ever meeting the other person — perhaps you read something that touched you, you viewed a painting, you shared an idea. Connections are simple, really. They allow you to talk and to share and to laugh and to cry. They’re natural — you don’t need to work at them or force them or struggle to maintain them…they just are.
We don’t get to choose who we love — I think this is true anyway. I loved my parents, I didn’t choose them, they were just always a part of me. I love my kids, again, I didn’t choose them. They, too, have always been a part of me — even before they were a thought in my head. I love very few people who I’m not related to — I don’t think I chose them either. I think it was destined that we were in each other’s lives. We connected, we loved… love just is. It surrounds us when we let it. It heals us when we need it. It protects us when it should. I have heard people say you have to work at love. I’m not sure I believe that. I think we have to work at how we talk and how we react and how we show kindness — but love… love just is.
I think kindness can be a huge connection for people. Love and kindness — you don’t have to work at it, it isn’t forced. An act of kindness can be that simple connection that sparked a friendship or a conversation or a laugh or a game — it seems to draw us close to the people we need. Sometimes, it’s a simple connection that forms without even trying, to let us know we belong, to hold us together…human connection, available to all — just is.
The weather has been horrible the last couple of days. Rain, storms, flooding — homes under water, cars submerged. Still, we needed groceries. I ventured out to the store and wanted to survey the damage as well. While I was in the store, the rains and storming increased. I paid for my things and walked to the door — staring blankly at the vast distance between me and my car. Deciding to leave the groceries and pull the car around, I took a deep breath and started for my car. Just then, a person I had never met opened an umbrella over my head and walked with me to my car. We chatted about the rain of course. I thanked him for his kindness. When I pulled my car around to load my groceries, there he was. Waiting to help. We loaded the groceries into my car — talked some more about the rain and I once again thanked him for his kindness — a random act I hope to pay forward soon.
I ran across this poem by Naomi Shihab Nye about kindness. I began to think about love and kindness as one thing — not separate entities. I think you can’t have love without kindness and where there is kindness…love must surely follow. Perhaps it’s all connected in the end — perhaps a little kindness is all we can hope to give and hope to receive. At the end of the day, I think taking the time to be kind will be what matters — I think that’s what will lead you to love, I think that’s what will spark a connection.