“To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.” ~ Stephen Covey
Eight people met for the first time this past Saturday night. A few minutes before 7 p.m. no one knew what to expect, but by the end of the evening eight people had made an unexpected connection.
It wasn’t fate that made this unexpected connection; it was the power of the human spirit.
Three years ago Mary Beth had brain surgery to repair a Chiari Malformation which is a rare defect that results in brain tissue extending into the spinal canal. Without surgery, my wife’s physical symptoms would have continued deteriorating. While life-threatening, the surgery gave Mary Beth her life back.
Since her surgery, my wife has found other Chiari survivors on Facebook. It encourages Mary Beth to connect with people, who understand the pain, and the fear, she once faced. The connection makes my wife feel like she’s not alone.
After sharing online, the group decided it was time to share in person. We volunteered our house and then waited to see what would happen next.
Like most people, our get- togethers are with folks we know. It was odd walking through the grocery store and not knowing what to buy. Mary Beth played it safe. She selected food that wasn’t too gourmet, or too dull. I also kept it safe by grabbing a 12-pack of Bud Light for the gentlemen. My wife settled on making a pitcher of sangria for the ladies. We bought soft drinks too, just in case.
When the doorbell rang at 7, we were ready to welcome our guests.
After introductions, the conversation shifted to questions like, “What were your first symptoms?” “Who was your doctor?” “How do you feel now?”
As each person shared their answers, it was clear the group was feeling at ease. There was no grandstanding, no judging and no bragging. I witnessed eight people being honest, genuine and vulnerable. And just as inspiring, I witnessed eight people creating a bond stronger than the enemy they have been fighting.
Sometimes the simple path to an unexpected connection is made when we find the courage to reveal our most painful struggles because we trust it’s safe to do so.
The evening ended with the group wanting to meet on a regular basis. Emails were exchanged and coffee meet-ups were arranged. I got the sense the momentum would continue.
Last Saturday night was a reminder that the human spirit is alive and well. The human spirit calls us to work together, to listen and to provide care. The human spirit gives us the confidence to keep moving forward, no matter how hard life pushes back. It allows eight strangers to come together and then be called friends a few moments later.
The human spirit provides unexpected connections that remind us we never have to face our enemies alone.
What is A Simple Path?
This post is in A Simple Path, a twice-weekly series of short pieces inspired by my own life experiences. Each post is a simple path to experiencing something wonderful: maybe seeing life from a different perspective, or celebrating its beauty. Click here to read all posts in the series.