Stretching Across What Separates Us
I’ve known my neighbor’s boys, Robbie and Nico, since they were born. Robbie now 4, Nico now 2. Before the restrictions of sheltering in place for the pandemic, Robbie especially would climb the crape myrtle tree in my front yard, “mow” my lawn with his toy lawn mower, ride his bike down my driveway because I have a gentle slope that made my driveway fun.
The other day I came outside to bring something to my recycling can, the air clear enough that I didn’t put on my mask. Robbie and his mom were outside, too, so I walked over for a visit, keeping the safe physical distance. Robbie wanted to give me a pink “fairy,” one of the bougainvillea blossoms that had blown from my yard into his.
He was so innocent in his generosity, but I reminded him I didn’t have my mask on and we couldn’t come close. He was momentarily crestfallen, but then he pulled his T-shirt up to cover his nose and approached me again with the “fairy” blossom. I pulled up my sweatshirt, too, and we reached across to transfer the gift of the blossom.
The gift of connection, the gift of friendship, from a young boy who was learning the rules of the surreal but so real times we live in, and still remembering the deeper lessons that don’t even need to be taught, of staying connected through generosity and sharing. Warmed my heart, and reminded me of how important it is to find these heart-warming moments of connection to carry us through these strange, hard times.
Exercise: Sending a Blossom of Connection Across What Separates Us
1. Identify three people you are connected with, or want to connect with, now separated by physical or geographical distance.
2. Identify what you would like to tell them, about their importance to you in your life, the value of their presence, the joy of connection.
3. Call, text, email, Facetime them…and tell them now.
4. Share with each other any warmth, good will, reassurance generated by the connection.
5. Repeat, repeat, repeat.