Monday Musings: What We're All Craving.
Connection. It's what we all crave. To be seen, to be heard, to be known, to be loved. The freedom to be our authentic selves. As you know, I feel like the table is one of the best places to feel connected. To me, the table symbolizes love, acceptance, warmth, vulnerability, and sharing. It's a place to celebrate and to mourn, a place to know and to be known. These pictures - all taken by the amazing Eric Ryan Anderson, were taken at our wedding. I love the way he captured the moments of magic and true connection that take place across a table. Makes me tear up just looking at these shots.
Last night, even though I had a pile of work I needed to get done (not to mention the piles of laundry I've been ignoring), B and I spend a much-needed night together. Last week felt like a total blur of work for both of us, and we were starting to feel a bit disconnected. We ate dinner at the table (a thrown-together pasta of everything in the fridge), and ended up sharing stories about high school and our favorite songs and how we both got into music. Afterwards, we sat on the couch and ate ice cream and talked about life, and what we're really longing for. Both of us said the same things: margin – space to breathe and to rest – and authentic community. We both long for friends we see more than once a month (which in NYC can be difficult with everyone's crazy schedules). As B's health improves, which thank God it is!!!, I know it will be more possible to have friends over more often, and to do a better job of being available to join in friends' gatherings as well.
We also talked about the fact that we want to do a better job connecting with each other. Making time to really see and listen to each other. It's funny how – even though we live together and probably see each other more than most couples (thanks to our entrepreneurial jobs) – we often end up spending so much time on our laptops working, or on our phones communicating with others, that we might as well be on separate planets.
Ironically, after our talk, Brandon ended up starting a movie called Disconnect. I wasn't intending to watch the movie, but I found myself so engrossed that I gave up on dishes and sat and watched it with him. I have no idea how I'd never heard of this film, because it was easily one of the best I've seen in the past year. Through three parallel plotlines, the film paints a dark picture of today's culture: always connected (to technology), but incredibly disconnected (from each other). It doesn't vilify technology per se, but shows the dangers of overuse.[SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT] Without giving away too much of the plot – because it's really a movie worth seeing – there were several heartbreaking scenes that are still fresh in my mind: of a family sitting around a dinner table, each one on his or her phone, their conversations with each other fragmented at best. There's another couple, who – after the loss of a child –grow distant, each retreating into their own personal cyberworlds, he to online gambling and she to grief support chatrooms. And then there's a whole plotline about the shady world of underage web cam sex trafficking. The movie deals with so many other issues, from high school cyber-bullying to identity theft to ethics in journalism. But ultimately it's a movie about our desperate need for authentic human connection. [SPOILER DONE]
The movie sat with me, because there were no real villians (well, aside from the sex-trafficking ringleader) – the characters could be any of us. It's sort of like the frog who boils to death because it starts out in a pot of tepid water: we slowly become more and more dependent on our online connections, mistaking this for community, and then wake up one day realizing that our spouse, children, and friends feel like strangers. Interestingly, it took tragedy to shake each person out of their numbness. Which is really the shame about life: we often don't know what we have until we lose it (or nearly lose it).
Taking the night off from my to-do list last night ended up being the best possible thing. Getting a chance to have a leisurely dinner and good conversation with B, and then watching a thought-provoking film together, not only helped me feel more connected to him, but it reminded me of the importance of living intentionally. Of carving out this precious time, and of never, ever taking him – or anyone I love – for granted.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you struggle with feeling disconnected? Do you put limits on technology in your home? What works for you? Thanks for sharing!
Photos by Eric Ryan Anderson