Written by Sylvia Fuerstenberg, former executive director, The Arc of King County
The XIV Dalai Lama said “Our ancient experience confirms at every point that everything is linked together, everything is inseparable.”
I often find myself in awe of the web of connections we create throughout our lifetimes and surprised by how often those web of connections overlap when I least expect them to!
It started last week at the Legislative Forum, when I get to see people that have been part of my professional life, many since 1987 when I moved back to Washington. One of the many connections I have made is a man named Herb. Herb, who spoke at the forum and
happens’ to be a gentleman with Down syndrome, was on the interview committee for my first Executive Director position here in Washington. It is always just a joy when he and I run into each other – which happens from time to time as we live in the same neighborhood. I count as beloved the many people with disabilities that I have had the joy to stay connected with through a couple of job and life changes. Herb was at my wedding shower and I think a baby shower too and now those babies are grown-ups! I value that connection. I can say, “We knew each other when……”
Over the last few decades and as friends and colleagues retire, I worry about the potential loss of connection. A few of my colleagues and I have made a commitment to intentionally connecting once a month. This reassures me that the relationships I have with people who are important to my life and my history will continue to play a role as our lives change.
We have all lost connection with people who were important to us at one point. I believe we all have stories about how some long lost friend or two found us on Facebook or LinkedIn. I have my own stories about those as well, from high school friends to old boyfriends. Am I really that old that I can say “back in the good old days”? Years ago if you drifted from place to place, exploring this wide country and traveling for school or work – you could easily lose touch with people over too many transitions. Now, with help from the internet, we can reconnect– sometimes with great joy and other times, not so much. It’s great to be connected with people who have known me since I was young and wild and maybe a little more adventurous..!
I made a promise to myself a couple of years ago that I would work harder to stay connected to the people in my life that matter. There is nothing more important than our connections to others and especially to the people we love and who love us.
I see myself as part of an intricate web. from Herb to the friends over the years that weave in and out of my life, and who may weave in and out of yours, too. You just never know how else we could be connected!).
Here is my challenge to you. Who have you lost track of that you want to find again? Who are you most afraid of losing from your daily life? Reach out today and promise to be intentional about your relationships. It requires making a conscious effort, but our lives are enhanced when we strengthen our network and expand the quality of our friendships. Think about the web of people you want to stay with you throughout life, and send them a quick note to say “Thanks for being a part of my life.”
“There is a deep interconnectedness of all life on earth, from the tiniest organism, to the largest ecosystems, and absolutely between each person” Bryant McGill, Voice of Reason.