Do You Know More About a Stranger Than a Neighbor?
Can you tell someone the name of a celebrity’s dog or favorite product, but you can’t tell that person the name of your neighbor or his dog? When we connect to the social world but disconnect from our real one, we run the risk of slowly slipping into a state of loneliness.
True story. Several years ago, I was on the launch team for a popular and deeply admired author. In full disclosure, I applied for the launch team without ever reading one of her books or blog posts. In other words, I had no idea the depth of love people had for her and her work. We had a launch party in her backyard–which what couldn’t be better for an introvert but to gather with 500 strangers?!?! Bless it all. When I got to the party, I knew only a handful of names, and the author was one of the few. As I sat with a group of stranger-friends, they began calling the author’s dog and children by name. I was astonished by this. I did not know the people or pets surrounding me, so how did they know?
Desire and Sacrifice: Components of Connection
I think what I experienced in the backyard that night still happens. We collect information about others, and we feel temporarily connected. It works for us for a little while, but where do we turn when the storms of life beat on our windows in the middle of the night? I think this is the intersection of depression and loneliness. We have an authentic need to be known. We want someone to remember our birthday, know our taco order, and walk with us through the highs and lows of life. To have a friend, we must be a friend. This is where things get derailed. People are messy. Relationships require sacrifice.
In a world where it is easier to collect information than invest in relationship, it is no wonder so many people feel disconnected, but I would love to break the cycle. One way we do that is to tell our story. I believe we cultivate connection when we share authentically with others. This is the power we observed in the #metoo and #churchtoo movement. People were liberated to move out of their trauma because they recognized they were not alone.
Fun Fact Friday
This blog series is simply an effort to move beyond simple observations to deeper connection. It is an invitation to look outward and see the provision of community all around you. It is the sincere belief that we are the answer someone is longing for. A few times a month, I will post a fun fact on Friday. This is just something you would not know simply by scrolling my social media feed or reading a few blog posts.
I LOVE music. My early memories are draped in music. We closed out every day in second grade with Yellow Submarine, and I loved the sound of the record starting up. If you peeked in the front window of my childhood home, you would definitely find me and my sisters performing [which was little more than dancing wildly around the living room] to Glenn Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy and Ronnie Milsap’s I Wouldn’t Have Missed it for the World. We wore the vinyl thin on our favorite songs, and you can be sure there were scratches from accidently dropping the needle while trying to get to one of our preferred songs on the album. I can remember the day in fourth grade when I had my first migraine. Know why? We were in music playing Name That Tune, and it was my turn to watch the clock and hit the triangle after ten seconds of the teacher playing the piano. I was so eager for that job, but when I looked at the clock, I couldn’t see the numbers. I have been battling spotty vision and migraines ever since.
Beyond my elementary years, and my honorable but tragic attempt to learn the clarinet, I shifted to singing in the choir at church and loudly in the car. I traded my dreams of being a rock star [100% serious] for being an avid concert-goer. I went to see the Grateful Dead [here’s one of my favorite songs] for the first time when I was 14. I would continue the trend for many years. Many of my memories revolve around music.
My husband tells a story about trying to keep notes of my favorite songs when we were dating. Just when he thought he had that figured out, I would mention another favorite song. He laughs when he tells the story because he quickly realized I used that phrase for most of the songs that came on the radio. I was not trying to fool him; every song really was one of my favorites.
We have seen Needtobreathe in concert multiple times because I cannot get enough of hearing their music live, dancing with thousands of strangers, and feeling a part of a larger story.
Even now, as I type, I have music playing. When I am showering, studying, or cooking, I want music to fill the space with me. Okay. I should revise that to say I have a mix of music and commercials filling the space with me. I use the free version of music streaming services because #cheap. It works just the same, and it is only a minor inconvenience to listen to a random commercial.
When I think about why music is such a big part of my world, it can only boil down to one thing. I am not musically inclined. I cannot carry a tune in a bucket. I do not understand the language of music. BUT–I do love the story of music. I love the way music can usher me back to another time or a forgotten memory with a few notes. I love that music makes for good company, soothes the restless mind, and sets the tone of a room.
I was a lonely young person. Music became my comfort and companion. It soothed my soul when nothing else would. You can take a lot of things away from me, but please never take away my radio or free music streaming service!
What relationship do you have with music? Do you remember your first concert? Are you musically inclined? If we could go to a concert, which one would you want to attend?
I would love to hear your Fun Fact, and it doesn’t have to be about music!