Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Prompt: Who is one person that you’ve been dying to connect with, but just haven’t had the courage to reach out to? First, reflect on why you want to get in touch with them. Then, reach out and set up a meeting. (Author: David Spinks)
At an early age, I learned to connect to most people thanks to my parents. They taught me how and why to connect with family, strangers, the famous, my faith and myself. My connection kinships sustained and fortified me throughout my life and gave me the courage to reach beyond my visions.
Mine was a peripatetic life. I grew up moving much and being the new girl in the classroom and community often. My siblings served as my closest friends, but my parents taught us to connect beyond our boundaries by making new friends. They showed us how to stay connected to faraway relatives through letters while living overseas, occasional phone calls (pre-cellphone and Skype) and summer vacations to Mississippi and Texas.
My parents taught us to build connections with those who spoke, thought and appeared different from us. We learned to connect with the powerless and the powerful. My mother told us to face people, not fear them. She proved the power of connecting when she wrote the CEO of a major hotel company asking for a complimentary suite for the weekend my father returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam—and she got it. She proved the need to connect when she wrote a major hamburger chain seeking food donations for a community celebration—and they donated. I also was taught how to connect to my long gone heroes—Gandhi, Zora Neale Hurston, Abe Lincoln, Madam C.J. Walker, Jackie Robinson and others—through books or bonds with existing relatives.
From youth, the courage to connect was instilled in me. Today, I continue reaching out to those I want to meet and, like my mother, sometimes the results are overwhelming. Yet, the most important connection I’ve made has been the one with myself. Personal connecting from time to time is a necessity that keeps me grounded and attuned to self. While connections to humanity help me understand that fears are conquerable, worries are unfounded, loss is never ending, we survive and life continues; connection to myself helps me evolve from a restless searching spirit into a person with a purpose.