There is something powerful about identifying with another person. It's that spark of recognition that your story parallels aspects of their story, and provides an instant rapport which cannot be forged but is immediately recognizable for both people involved. I love those serendipitous moments in life; the ones you can't plan for but take you by surprise and fill you with joy.
When you are sludging your way through a hard time, it's hard to see the forest for the trees. You don't have the long-range view, only a few feet in front of you at mud and dirt and difficulty, but every so often the sun breaks through the rain, and you get a glimpse of something beautiful. Your hope begins to rise. You know that life is as lovely as it is painful, and it gives you the courage to carry on.
We are all banged up. We have all been disappointed by those we love. But we have also been given so much, not necessarily in monetary terms, but in all of the lovely things which last forever and imbed into our character like trust, mercy, affection and encouragement. When we give to each other, we receive for ourselves. And when we offer a kind word to someone who needs it, we feed something inside of our own soul.
Identifying with each other makes us feel less alone. We know that our struggles and triumphs are not as unique as we thought they were, but this knowledge brings peace for me, as I know my soul can touch someone else's when we share our similar experiences. There is a raw power when two or more people are willing to lay bare their hearts to one another, particular when you aren't expecting that when you sit down to talk with someone.
I'd like to find more of these connections, or at least be open to the possibility of them occurring. We are all traveling a similar journey, at the same spot on this time continuum, and it's so much better to lighten the load for one another if we can. To stretch out a hand to help where we see it's needed, and to be real instead of hiding who we really are.
Being truly yourself with others, strangers or friends, is counter-culture. It means stepping out of the shell we hide under, with all of our protective devices, and exposing our soft underbelly to wounds. There have been many times in the last year that I have longed for my old coping mechanisms and safety measures so I wouldn't be hurt so often or so fiercely, or so I would stop inadvertently hurting others by embracing my real self. But I don't want to lose the vulnerability that I have gained by this personal evolution. I think it is part of who I am, and when I can relate to someone else by expressing my vulnerability, I believe that feeling emotions this deeply is worth it.