Connected by one straight line

It’s the first day of summer in Australia and I’m standing at my desk as light streams through the blinds. It’s a cracking hot afternoon and, honestly, I’m looking forward to a cold beer.

You might be reading this in the heart of the Canadian Rockies as the temperature plummets and the holiday decorations spring up around you.

Or perhaps you’re in central London where the days grow shorter and your kids hang out for the end of year break.

Wherever you find yourself as you read this, right now, you and I are connected. In fact, you and any single person or place on earth are connected.

Quite bizarrely, I find myself spending a lot of time thinking about straight lines. Specifically, the straight line that exists between any two people on earth.

We can literally draw a straight line between ourselves and any other point. A place. A monument. A street corner. A person. A lover. A child. The only thing that separates us from anything is one straight line.

Who can I connect to in this moment? Anyone. Any mother. Any child. Any soldier, doctor or street vendor.

Where can I connect to in this moment? Any place. Any office. Any hospital. Any swing set in any park in any city.

The only thing separating you from that point is a straight line.

Doesn’t that draw the world closer? Doesn’t that level the playing field? Can you feel how alike we all are? How we each have our dreams, our hopes, our battles and our weaknesses? How human we are?

In light of the fear, anger, and sadness I currently see in conversations with friends, across the media and on my Facebook feed, this line has become stronger in my mind. Bolder. More real. More binding.

Because, as simplistic as it sounds, recognising this line has changed my world. Recognising this line has showed me – perhaps naively, even speciously – that there is potential for human connection in every direction. That there is a person on the other end of my line. Another person with dreams and struggles and hopes and desires.

And no, those dreams or hopes or struggles may not be the same as mine. In fact, chances are they’re not. But to recognise that others have them and they are just as important to them as mine are to me, well, that is to bring us closer as humans.

It’s much harder to be dispassionate when we realise we’re all in this together. When we allow for the connection that occurs simply because we are human and imperfect. When we recognise that for so many of us, our circumstance has very little to do with us and more to do with fate.

Because where there’s a capacity for connection, there’s room for empathy and there’s space for kindness.

“First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch

onestraightline

13 Comments

  1. Sarah Elizabeth || SEDiva Abroad

    Ooooh, Brooke, this was simply the loveliest thing I’ve read this week. Firstly, it didn’t take me much at all to imagine it fully – we’re all connected by a straight line. But secondly, this line: “It’s much harder to be dispassionate when we realise we’re all in this together. When we allow for the connection that occurs simply because we are human and imperfect. When we recognise that for so many of us, our circumstance has very little to do with us and more to do with fate.” Is EVERYTHING. What an absolutely beautiful post. I will be sharing this everywhere I can think of xx

    • Brooke McAlary

      Thanks so much, Sarah! It’s an idea I just couldn’t let go of and I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it. 🙂

  2. Kate

    Your last sentence will definitely stick with me today (and hopefully continue)–Because where there’s a capacity for connection, there’s room for empathy and there’s space for kindness. Lovely post & now I’m off to check out your podcast!

    • Brooke McAlary

      Thanks Kate! So glad to hear you enjoyed it, and let me know what you think of the podcast too.

  3. Guest

    This is absolutely wonderful. And happy summer!

  4. Jennifer A

    I loved this piece so much. You eloquently put into words what I’ve been feeling and thinking lately. Bravo 🙂

    • Brooke McAlary

      Thanks Jennifer. There’s something really powerful about it isn’t there? 🙂

  5. joanna

    Oh Brooke, I have missed your writing! This is a great post.

    • Brooke McAlary

      Thanks Joanna! It’s always nice to pull the writer’s hat back on after such a long break. 🙂

  6. Anu

    This is so lovely! It brings light in our dark December days here in Finland. Connected by a straight line 🙂

    • Brooke McAlary

      Connected by a straight line, from me here in the hot Australian summer to you in your dark Finnish winter. I love it!

  7. Elizabeth

    My first time on this site, and I am thrilled. Straight lines, brilliant. You’re quote at the end really hit me hardest. I grew up mostly overseas, my Father in shipping. We lived in Europe, the Middle East, India, Hong Kong, and travelled widely beyond that. Attics Finch’s words in a strange way summed up how my family lived. How I live today. As my parents taught me, learn about those around you, how they live, and appreciate the culture you live in. Respect it. Without fail, I ended up loving the people wherever I went. Even the streets of Newark, NJ, provided amazing examples of the connection of that straight line. Very happy to be here.

    • Brooke McAlary

      I love that quote too, Elizabeth. It’s made a huge difference in the way I live and the way I encourage my kids to live as well. If we all took the time to connect the dots and realise we all have goals and dreams – it makes each person closer and more human. I feel like the world we live in now could do with a big dose of that! Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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