I am just coming back from the July 4th Independence Day break. And it was a lovely day.
A lovely day around a lovely thing… I love the very feel of the word Independence – freedom to do, to be. Surely the foundation of all happiness.
But then, I close my eyes and try to think of all that makes me happy— and the first things which strike me are all those which are vulnerable in dependence… strong in dependence; the first things are connections on which the core of my happiness depends… faith and affection, belief and support I revel in being dependent on.
Have we over extended the concept? … independence for the individual, freedom and space… a wonderful thing for sure — as long as we see where the wonderful stops. Because we don’t seem to be able to so easily…
We move towards smaller and smaller orbits… with our nuclear families, with our increasing comfort in digital relationships. We have a hundred friends on our Facebook wall – and so few that are a part of our day. We form connects and networks… forget how to form friendships. We are comfortable in depending on invisible “clouds”, yet increasingly uncomfortable in depending on, in trusting people.
I live in this culture of the ultimate freedom for the individual. Where you move out out of your parents house because you are an adult and should live alone; and then keep cats and dogs and all kinds of pets because it is so lonely to live alone. Where marrying for love is the norm – arranged marriages so absurd; but the love last just long enough to create a soaring rate of divorce. Where people smile and talk to strangers on the road every day, yet have to create family holidays to meet and talk to their family. Where it is all about the individual, and yet so blind to what makes a complete individual…
Let us be independent enough to enjoy all the great opportunities it offers. Let us be be global and connected and networked… enjoy the diversity of cultures and human beings in an increasingly flat world.
But never too independent… never too adult… to indulge in the sheer joy, the enduring strength of the human connections we are able to create.
May we be blessed always with the vulnerability of dependence.
“The best thing to hold on to in life is each other” – Audrey Hepburn
(Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, 2012)