Hallelujah for Human Connection: Day 4
I am not sure if this is happening all over the world now that COVID is over or if Canadians are just once again showing their famous Canadian kindness, helpfulness, and friendliness, but in a big way the world seems to be restored.
When you are out on a bike, in a brightly decorated RV and an obvious stranger to a town, you draw a bit of interest. From the moment we embarked on our adventure we have had dozens of people reach out to offer support in a multitude of ways. Whether it is a friendly nod from a trucker that careens by or the tilted wave from a biker passing on the opposite side of the road, but the acknowledgement from others has been wonderful. From people handing us hand sanitizer at the roadside washrooms to strangers holding the doors at truck stops and people smiling when we approach to ask us about our ride, these moments of human interaction feel amazing.
Today when we were riding we stopped at a humongous statue of a beaver; the symbolic animal of Canada. Immediately a woman with her two small children running around in tow offered to take our picture. No masks, no standing six feet away, no sideways glances to see if we would get too close. Instead she walked up, and without hesitation, reached for my phone and offered to snap a shot of Peter and I in front of our national furry treasure. It was so nice to feel her honest joy by helping us capture the moment. It was utterly refreshing to feel her Canadian kindness.
Later that day, Janine, our driver, had a friend visit us. He was a family friend of hers that she had not seen in a few years, and since we were rolling through his town, he came to visit us. He was a burly man with a powerful stance and wore a pristinely kept cowboy hat in true fashion of a real Canandian farmer.
The moment we were introduced, he reached out to shake my hand and gripped it both firmly and respectfully. It was such a powerful moment to genuinely reach out and return the gesture. I instantly thought how it had been over a year since I had shook anyone’s hand in greeting. It had been over a year since I had met someone in a social way, someone that was not already in my social circle. It had been close to 15 months since I had talked to a stranger without fear, apprehension, and worry. A simple thing like shaking hands became beautiful once again; it was a gift to feel that human connection.
I have to say thank you to all the wonderful people who have pointed out directions, pulled over to see if we needed help, shared a secret camping spot, lakeside vista, or place for the kids to get out and play. I have to say thank you to the kind cashiers who gave us extra bags, the helpful gas attendants who went over and above, and the smiling folks who have backed up so our motorhome could make a wide turn. It has been fun to laugh with people again, to smile, and to see them smile back without the encumberment of a useless mask. It has been a blessing to hug Janine, my driver, uninhibited when she shows up with ice cold water and to go out on a date night with Peter to a movie theater!!!! Yes, we held hands and sat watching a movie on the big screen — something we hadn’t done since the pandemic began.
I’d like to think this warm reawakening of human connection is happening all over the world. I want to believe that we all are naturally once again feeling the love we have for one another and even for strangers. I trust our human desire to connect is blossoming forth and that around the globe humans are once again feeling the joy in relating to one another; freely. It is a simple thing to smile, shake hands, and show grace in passing but it is a profound thing. Wherever you are, be the catalyst for this important human quality; human connection. I know we all desire it, need it, and have it to give to every single person we come in contact with.
Big hugs from me to you.
Much Love, JB