When the Unexpected Brings Us Together

When the Unexpected Brings Us Together

On the afternoon before my eldest son’s birthday, a man stood atop one of the buildings on Main Street in Brattleboro, VT and manned a bubble machine that sent a mass of soapy rainbows floating through the air for about 15 minutes, just as my boys and I were walking about.

I sent up silent thanks to that lone figure, for helping to make my big boy feel like his eighth year on this earth was destined to be absolutely magical, and for encouraging every driver and pedestrian on that street to smile.

Actually, it wasn’t just a thank you for smiles.

I kept coming back to that scene over the course of weeks, and realized the understated value of what that man chose to do on a sunny Friday on the first day of August. It bowled me over, actually, with its implication, for we, ensconced in that everyday magic, had not only smiled, but looked at each other with the shared understanding that this moment was something special.

So often, what shakes us from our steady, modern, plodding, is tragedy, of which there is an inordinate amount, and which it would appear that we are in some ways growing numb to. But numbness is not why I am writing now.

I still remember 9/11 and its aftermath. The entire world was shaken, and my subway rides and sidewalk treks were filled with eye contact, previously unknown, for weeks. Those were constant energy exchanges that assured that, in some way, “I’m right there with you, sister.” Eye contact that invited words. “Yes, I know. I understand.” Body language. Everyone so incredibly shaken out of their individual existence that we suddenly saw, no, grasped our fellow creatures – and not only acknowledged but embraced that we are all one.

The news of the Sandy Hook shooting left me in the arms of a woman that I barely knew (at the time) holding on for dear life before I pulled myself together and gathered my boys from school.

A few days ago, Robin Williams took his life. A man of certain genius in his ability to touch others, he reached us through humor and sheer brilliance of characterization. I am no genius, but that creative spark… Oh, how he inspired me, and oh, how I, too, struggle against the darkness.

He was a teacher. A teacher of truths through his art.

The loss of him, a tragedy, has also brought so many like minded souls together. Giving courage to so many to speak out in the face of depression, suicide survival, and the brokenness of a system that was not able to save a light. And there are the looks, shared, in common heartbreak.

There are so many more examples, including the Missouri tragedy that I have not had time to process. Yet, all are vivid examples of invited connections amongst humanity that would not have otherwise transpired.

Our hearts can only handle so much battering.

I suppose my point is this… Perhaps, just perhaps, if more of us, so clearly connected when the lives we are living, in whole or in part, are turned upside down, summed the courage to engage in random acts of beauty, whether they be moments of generosity, or kindness, or comedy, or everyday magic – if they are simply magnificent in their simplicity and goodness – we could achieve some of this blessed reconnection without tragedy, and in some small way, change the world.

People are doing it… I know it and I see it. I guess this is just a challenge to the rest of us.

I believe that we humans are calling for a return to each other. Technology, polarization, global discord… They can encourage the misperception, with the barrage of information and shrouds of superficial association, that we are, each one of us, going it alone.

A man with a bubble machine would dictate otherwise.

May we not forget that within each of us, we hold the power to touch others and to bring joy and brilliance and love into times of darkness, into times of grey, and even into the light that can always be brighter.

We need each other. And no one person can save the world.

Shine on, friends.

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