I love traveling. Like really love it. If I could become a full-time traveler, with no agenda other than to make it to every single country in the world, I would so do it! Besides the sights, the languages, the sounds, the smells, the food, it’s the people that I love the most. And one of the reasons I love the people, is because of what they teach me.
Today was my first full day in Turkey. And it was great. I could ramble about every thing I did and saw today, but then that would make this sound very much like a diary or a journal, which was so junior high. So tonight is a reflection on connection.
Connection is something I love to talk and write about, but today I learned that I actually know very little about being connected. I value my independence and as a result, ignore the the disconnects that pepper my life. Maybe it’s not just my life, but really the culture I’ve grown up in. We look out for ourselves and those close to us, those with whom we’re connected. In my life, that means my family and close friends. I am not connected to my neighbors in my apartment building. I am not connected to the screaming child on the airplane. I am not connected to the elderly woman in the grocery store. I am connected to my people, and it takes a lot of time and some sort of bonding event to become part of my people.
But in Turkey, everybody is connected. My name is Hilary Abla: Hilary big sister. To all the children, I’m their big sister. The older women are to me, “Teyze”, aunt. The stranger asks a little boy if her son could ride his bike, but refers to her son as “your little brother”, even though the two boys are not related. Everyone is connected.
I’m coming to see connection as more than being joined or fastened together with another person. Connection is more than facebook, text messages, and phone calls. Connection is more than agreements and like-mindedness. Connection is also within myself. Connection between the heart and the mind. Connection between the intention and the action. Connection between today’s decision and tomorrow’s destination. As I look at my life, I realize, I’ve lived most of it disconnected. I’ve let myself believe the lie that individual decisions and events are isolated occurrences, when in reality, they’ve affected other people, subsequent decisions, and future events. Sadly, much of my life has been disconnected…discrepancies between my intentions and my actual lifestyle.
So tonight, I’m thinking about connection. Maybe I don’t have it all figured out, but I’m going to refer to myself as Hilary Abla until I can grasp a little more fully what connection is about. And I’ll read this over and over: “You are not as much of an individual as you’d like to think you are. Your decisions affect others and lead in a certain direction.”