Do you ever get to the end of a movie and as the lights come up realize you’re sitting next to someone you know? Then you both have to explain why you’re at the cinema at 11am on a weekday . Or maybe you hear someone laughing during the movie and think to yourself, “I know that laugh.” When I was a kid I remember being in a movie and someone was guffawing all the way through it. It sounded so familiar. Sure enough, as the lights went up, I realized it was my cousin, sitting a few rows in front of me.
When the lights come up and you recognize someone, it’s a powerful moment; the sort of synchronicity that leads to profound conversations. You realize that you’re not alone in the movie, or more to the point that you’re not alone in the world. Friends and family, known and unknown, are sitting just seats away, laughing and crying their way through the drama of life just as you are.
C S Lewis once said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one!”
That’s how my relationship with Meg was born over twenty years ago. We met, and shared thoughts and experiences. Before long, we were saying to each other, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one!” A lifelong romance began. Lifelong friendships of all sorts begin this way. They’re the sort of connections that make you feel understood and empowered. Communities form around this collective aha moment when some say out loud what others thought only happened in their heads. Groups of free thinkers share their doubts and questions and discover a common core. Activists gather and share their passion for causes and movements begin.
It’s an incredible moment when you first hear someone echo your deepest thoughts. You realize you’re not alone. You don’t necessarily agree on all the details. But you realize there are universal longings, and in your inner most being feel the reassurance that you belong. You are part of a family of kindred spirits, known and unknown.
I just love the mysterious connectedness of people and ideas, the bricolage of beauty that fills our days with meaning. Don’t you? I am grateful for the incredible symmetry in conversations and encounters that build a sense of connection. There is meaning behind relationships (ALL relationships). It may seem like people come in and out of your life randomly, but if you stay open to synchronicity and the “What! You too?” moments when the lights come up, you don’t feel alone for long because you are surrounded on every side by connections and possibilities
In the words of Anais Nin,
Each friend (and acquaintance) represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.