Aug 23, 2011

Connecting.


I am sitting here in my cozy LL Bean flannel jammies letting my mind wander around the word connect as I stare at the chocolate brown walls in my room. I am not quite sure what started me thinking about this word tonight. Maybe I felt a longing to connect, recognized it, and started really wondering what would make someone have that longing. Maybe I was thinking about how amazing it feels to truly connect with someone. Maybe I was thinking about doing a dot to dot :) Maybe I was thinking about the game Connect Four. Maybe I was thinking about the joy that comes when you can not figure out how to put something together and then you figure out if you connect this to that and then..... voila you did it. Whatever it was, I am deep in thought about connecting, and have lots of longing to connect with you on the subject :) Most of the thoughts are meandering ones so do not get your panties in a bunch as I brainstorm out loud. Putting the words down is oh so helpful for me but possibly confusing to you :)

As I was contemplating how I could put into words all that is in my head and heart about connecting I went to dictionary.com and checked out the word connect....there were all the usual connect type words there hanging out... join, link, bind, fasten together, unite, associate.....but then something caught my eye...the word bridge. You all know I have been fascinated with bridges lately. I have been trying for over a year to find a spot of time to read The Great Bridge by David McCullough. A book all about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. I devoured it on all my plane trips this summer and I am finally half way through it. I long to finish it. The book is so fascinating. From the minute I read this quote in the front of it, I began my fascination with bridges;

"It happens that the work which is most likely to be our most durable monument, and to convey some knowledge of us to the most remote posterity, is a work of bare utility, not a shrine, not a fortress, not a palace, but a bridge."


Montgomery Schulyer made that quote in Harpers Weekly in 1885. And I have thought a lot about it and read it over and over. So when I connect with someone I make a bridge and my most durable monument long after I am gone will be those connections I have made with people? Some of the bridges I have attempted to make have not stood the test of time and misunderstandings have caused them to fall....they apparently were not built on firm foundations. Washington Roebling went to so much work to make sure the Brooklyn Bridge was built on a extremely firm foundation. The amount of work and research he did to make sure the caissons were sitting on firm solid ground in the river was truly amazing. Some of the bridges I have made in my life have been built on that sort of foundation and have been unconditional and solid and brought me so much joy and wonder.

So, there I was last Saturday standing on the deck of the Staten Island Ferry at 5:00 in the evening taking pictures of all the amazing bridges I could see all around me, in every direction, all of them connecting things. Each bridge was different. I wanted to know about them all. Who built them, and how, and why, and when. When the Brooklyn Bridge was built some people were afraid of what the connecting of New York City to Brooklyn would do and some were excited about the prospects. People are like that too. Some of us are afraid of making connections....we may get hurt, it may be a connection that requires some work, or maybe it is a connection that will require a sacrifice. I confess I never think about the scary parts of connecting I just plow ahead needing and wanting a connection.....sigh...maybe someday I will learn to stop being so naive and learn to weigh the enormous risks of connecting.

We all long to connect, right? I work oh so hard at it. I really am interested in people. I keep in touch with people from every place I have ever lived. It is very important to me. I love that I can reach out to friends from years ago and pick up right where we left off. Sometimes I fight with all my might the incredibly overwhelming need I have to connect. I have been known to secretly curse this part of me and try with all my might to suppress it. It is oh so often misunderstood to be neediness or sometimes people do not think it is possible for someone to want to connect as much as I do and they decide I am not genuine.

When you meet someone for the first time you immediately start searching in your conversation for ways to connect....Where have you lived? Where are you from? What is your favorite color? Searching for a common ground....a connection.... and, oh the joy, when you discover a connection..... you like avocado, and apricots, and asparagus? SO DO I !

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