Dara LevanBlog1 Comment

As I wrote about in last week’s blog, “Sleepless in New York,” I visited the City for a brief trip. This whirlwind 24 hours culminated with seeing Hamilton on Broadway. The show exceeded all expectations, which I didn’t think possible given its nearly cult-like following. I sang, cried, laughed, repeat! And experiencing the epic fusion of history mixed with modern music in a spirited NYC theater was extraordinary.

We saw the show with two close friends. Our night was beyond amazing. After hugs and a marathon catch up conversation, we settled into our cozy seats. My husband sat to my right. Nikki and Brian sat to my left, and we all hummed the tunes together. Directly in front of me was a mother and daughter, whose connection reminded me of the closeness I have with Zoe.

Connection. This word has always resonated within my soul. I held hands with and smiled at my husband throughout the show. I felt grateful for the sumptuous sensation of merging my love of theater with the love of my life. We frequently connected with our dear friends through eye contact and simultaneous laughter. The girl bopped her lithe, teen body while belting each note and echoing each line. My heart tugged with longing (my kids are in camp) when she tenderly leaned on her mother’s shoulder. And I connected with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s multi-dimensional, soul-stirring characters.

I often worry about the disconnection in today’s world. It is a painful paradox to witness. We are more technologically connected than in years past. Yet as the ability to instantly reach each other is increasing, our social interactions and connections are decreasing. Babies demand connection with their cries and intoxicating giggles. But I sadly and often see parents looking down at their phones rather than into their newborns’ eyes. It breaks my heart.

Alexander Hamilton was one of the most prolific writers in history. Connection. Hamilton passionately spoke his truth — according to Aaron Burr he should have “talk(ed) less, smile(ed) more.” Hamilton somehow wrote 51 of the 85 installments of The Federalist Papers in an unbelievably short time. His impact and legacy are an eternal connection.

What would Hamilton, Burr, and others feel if they could see us now? Do you think they’d text one another or still insist on face-to-face conflict resolution and lively banter? I clearly do not know the answers. But I can imagine their dismay at the decline of personal communication in our society. I wonder if they would “unfriend” or “unfollow” someone for disagreeing with a perspective. I sincerely doubt it. 

I know how I feel. Nothing can replace the warmth of holding a loved one’s hand. Nothing can replace reading a friend’s expression when words conflict with energy. Nothing can replace telling someone “I love you” while gazing directly into the person’s eyes.

I am learning, albeit rather slowly, to use and value social media. Since launching Every Soul Has A Story 11 months ago, I am understanding the profound purpose of social media and how it’s a bridge to global connection.

I am thankful for posts that inform me of a person’s passing or illness, so I can reach out and connect with a family. I love celebrating the news of a recent birth or marriage. I’ve also met other like-minded writers and photographers via Facebook and Instagram. I am grateful for this type of connection.

However, I continue to struggle with the nuanced narcissism emitting from photos and phrases. I still inwardly battle with the cowardly conflict erupting between close “friends” and even strangers. And the passive aggressive subtleties seeping through commentary or lack thereof. There are days I wish we could go backward to the time when letter writing and actually speaking to each other were our only choice.

Connection. We all need it. We all crave it. Emails and texts can’t serve as a substitute for a phone call, in person chat, or a hug. Sometimes the best way to connect is to turn off all devices and turn on our hearts.

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