Everyone has a deep need to feel connected. It's a part of being human, feeling loved and as if you are a part of something greater than yourself. This basic human need fuels us in directions that can be both good and bad. I grew up without parents, so my very important first connection was cut off at a young age. I was 9 when my father died, then 14 when my mom died. My situation forced me to self-parent. I was lucky enough to have many adults around to provide me with guidance, but obviously it wasn't the same had my own parents been around to teach me life lessons. I've learned many on my own and at age 38, I'm still learning everyday.
Self-parenting has forced me to follow my inner wisdom and look beyond the world we see and understand. I feel there is something larger than us that guides and parents us. Call it a higher energy, G-d. Whatever, you call it, there are a million religious terms to explain what I'm referring to, but whatever it is, we are always ridiculous to think we have full control. It is up to us to move forward and learn from everything we experience, the happy, the sad, the difficult and the simple. Even in the state of the world in which we live right now, with the economy in deep recession and people without work, without homes, without...just without, there is still a plan bigger than us.
In the last 8 years, I had felt that humanity was losing our connection to one another. Let me preface this by explaining that I live in an affluent area, where sometimes the people have the reputation of being jaded, self-centered and self-indulgent, so maybe my view is skewed a bit. Maybe, if I lived back in the south where I grew up, then I may have felt differently. But, even the times I visited the south in the last 8 years, I felt that although there human kindness still existed, it had faded slightly.
I can't blame it all on President Bush because I believe he was the right president at the right time in our history, but his drive for us to fight against "evil" led us to feel to defensive and live in fear. It created anxieties in our culture that we didn't need to feel. Now, we are facing real anxiety as we look around and find less abundance, but I think we are handling it better as a whole nation as we are relearning how to appreciate relationships and true connections to others again. Now today, financial anxieties and worries are there, but this time unfortunately they are real "in-our-face" anxieties we see and feel daily. Although the degrees differ in how the recession is affecting each of us, we are all in this together. Tension is created among differing opinions, but that's what happens when humans connect in "real time."
Just this past weekend, as my family and I were heading on a road trip to a cheerleading competition. We stopped at a highway rest stop Starbucks and while my hands were filled with a latte, a frappaccino, and a mocha, I couldn't manage to put the little cardboard thing onto my hot latte, a stranger, a middle-aged woman, assisted me by holding the cardboard open so I could slide my hot cup in. I thought it was a miraculous act of human nature, given the selfishness I had felt in years past at the same Starbucks stop on the way to previous competitions. I felt the human connection was repairing itself, even if just slightly.
Obviously, Obama was elected by this country's need for change. It was not just change of policy and politics. I think we missed the need for connection again. Our country leads the world on many fronts, culturally, financially and maybe it's time to lead spiritually, too. Not religiously, but simply with the human connection.