“I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone’s heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.”
Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
This line is one of my favorite lines of literature. It embodies the idea that no matter how differently each of us goes about living our lives –the choices we make, the places we go, the people we become– we are all on a journey. We are all learning how to know and love ourselves as well as others with great depth and honesty. Passion for the people around us, for ideas, for the cultures around the world –all is necessary to form an identity. This line speaks to me about relationships –with others, platonic and otherwise, and with oneself. It baffles me how quickly we can impact another’s day within seconds of meeting. We thrive off the daily connections we make with each other, finding pure comfort in the fact that we are not alone. It is the reason we fight to preserve relationships, to forge friendships. If this were not true, could we not then simply live our lives separate from one another? We could wake up alone and eat alone and laugh at nothing but the thoughts in our heads. Perhaps we have been so caught up in this routine of needing to be “me” that we judge and we look away and we stand by idly and we expect things of others. As a result, we miss out on the true beauties of interaction with others and we are left with tragedies and atrocities and injustices.
While we insist on maintaining individuality –particularly, in American culture– we often lose sight of the fact that were are, in fact, innately interdependent. We find ourselves drawn, as though it is magnetically installed within us to connect with others. Our skeletons are built the same, our chests rise and fall in the same way, our heart beats in the same steady thuds, our lips turn upward with the same sparkle in our eyes when we smile. Carver expresses this beautifully in the last lines of his story: we are all filled with the same capacity for love and can, and should, take that love and run with it.
Goal: Be thankful for the people who surround you everyday, even if you do not speak to them often. Respect them for who they are and not for who you want them to be.