Our miniature forest feels particularly magical today. Diagonal streams of sunlight fill and illuminate all the dainty, fluttering leaves, as if thousands of tiny glowing lanterns are floating through the air. Rain fell all morning in a slow motion curtain of delicate drops, leaving millions of dazzling beads of water on everything. Even the spiders’ webs, that are usually only obvious if they catch on your hair or snag on your face, are sparkling in the brilliant sunshine. How beautifully these delicate, thin shinning strands connect an infinite assortment of things that would naturally and quite normally have no bond what so ever.
This morning I was completely captivated by the beauty out my front window, but then trying to describe the scene…I found myself stuck. I couldn’t stop thinking about the spider webs. I was suddenly amazed by how they literally connect things; the way that they join objects together that might normally never find a connecting point apart from the spider and its web. I found myself amazed by the huge heap of things that spider webs could symbolize in life; so many perfect parallels.
There’s amazing diversity in the things that spiders attach their webs to; each object is quite unique, not unlike people. Some of us are pretty weathered and rugged, like the old majestic tree in the yard. Others of us are fragile, more like a skinny twig or maybe even a blade of grass. Some people are stationary, while others seem destined to roam; never wanting to stay in any one place for very long. Even with all of our differences, our shared experiences have a way of drawing us together, just like that web which attaches and holds the rock to a car.
I love how two people, who look outwardly, to have the least amount of things in common, can find their way into each others’ hearts through a shared experience. It’s those very people; the ones who I NEVER imagined I’d find myself feeling connected to, who end up being the ones to teach me the most about the world and about myself. It’s the most beautiful dose of humility.
Moving to the Northwest has given me the chance to share my life with people from all over the world. I’ve never before been exposed to such a variety of people; neighbors from Sudan, Canada and India, fellow elementary school families from France and Germany and friends from Ethiopia and Mexico. Before this season of my life, I’d never had the opportunity to really value the splendor of the ‘melting pot’ that has made the US the amazing nation that it is: a nation full of possibilities...of hope.
I remember how I first felt, meeting our Sudanese neighbors. I wasn’t sure if we’d have anything in common. I worried that they’d feel skeptical of us (me and my family). I wondered if our differences in faith would hinder a relationship. I wondered if they were hoping to convert us. I remember one particular conversation with that sweet Sudanese woman (months into becoming neighbors), where I realized that she had become just another mama, loving her kids and wanting good things for her family. I learned a precious lesson about being open-hearted even when the differences feel distracting.
There have also been times where I’ve felt connected to a person merely because he or she looked like me. We shared a common interest, similar style, family structure, or maybe we both grew up in the same area. So I determined that based on appearances, we must also be composed of the same “stuff” on the inside too. But in truth, in spite of the “web” or outward connection, not all people that appear the same, share the same composition.
Just as glistening, dew laden spider’s webs reveal the bond between objects, sharing experiences like achievement, loss, triumph, joy and pain, and shared interests, link us (humans) together. Sometimes our connections are shallower and short lived. But sometimes we find that we have deep, soulful and strong bonds with somebody extra special, and our lives are better because of it...and forever changed.
Writer and fellow traveler on the road of life.