Just last night, I took a few moments to sit next to my husband on the couch. The boys were snuggled up at Grandma’s house, watching a favorite TV show before bed. We had a few quiet moments before I had to be on my way, too. No matter what, those few moments we squeeze in are never enough, never long enough to truly connect.
This week’s episode of Chesapeake Shores opened with some very telling dialogue between Trace and Abby. Reveling in a moment together at The Bridge, the new music hotspot of Chesapeake Shores, Trace opens his heart to Abby by attempting to explain his love for live music. “That’s what it’s all about – connecting with people.” But Abby just shakes her head and says, “Too exposed.” She prefers the data and numbers of the boardroom, a place that never gets personal or complicated. Trace admits that “it’s a little scary sometimes, but in that moment, when everyone is feeling the same thing, there’s nothing better.”
As people, we crave intimacy and connection with others, whether it is from our parents, our kids, our spouse, or even a close friend. Something in our spirits needs the one-on-one, face-to-face closeness – but we also fear it. Just like Abby, we don’t want to be exposed. Connecting with someone on such a deep level means removing masks and facades, opening up all of our yesterdays and unveiling what they hold, good and bad. It is so much easier to draw a line in the sand and tell others not to cross it.
Our reliance on social media is simply a symptom of this innate need, and we use it as a bandaid to cover up a gaping wound. With the click of an app, we can “connect” without truly exposing any wounds. We can post pictures, write comments, and present ourselves to the world in whatever light we wish. It’s for that very reason that Trace pockets Abby’s phone as she is searching for a cell signal. He knows that they both need: true connection without distraction and false fronts. He is realizing that he’s losing Abby to the distractions of the world, so he removes them to the one place that he relies on to “put it all in perspective.”
As I continued watching beyond Trace and Abby’s storyline, I noticed how many of the characters sought connection throughout the episode, and how each panicked at the idea of real unity with another. When these moments of intimacy presented themselves, and the characters made the leap to reveal the hurts hovering under the surface, the scenes brought tears to my eyes. Bree’s expression after Simon kissed her was like a window into her soul; she cringed, then analyzed, and then decided to make the leap. Jess was so scared that should would ruin everything that she lied to herself that anything happened with David. At the last moment, only after discovering that David has already fallen hard for her, did Jess let go and open up fully.
The connection that touched me most, though, was the father-son scene between Mick and Kevin. Of all the yesterdays that these characters suppress, Kevin’s is the deepest hurt. Of all the dialogue around connecting and meeting others face-to-face, Kevin’s single line brought revelation for me. “Sometimes I want to call Tom….Then I remember his phone doesn’t ring anymore.” My heart sank in my chest at those words.
How many times a day do I choose writing a text message over having a real phone conversation? How often do I toss real-life connection to the bottom of my list and put every other aspect of life ahead of it? How much longer do I have with my mom, my dad, my husband, my kids, my family, my friends? Is it enough time to trade it for anything else of this world? I don’t want to find myself repeating Tom’s words, regretting the phone call I never made.
So, if you discover a phone message from me when we haven’t talked in awhile, you’ll know why. You are important to me. Those people closest to me – the ones who help me face my yesterdays and my tomorrows – I can’t live this life without them. Life may get busy and complicated, but loving someone in their most vulnerable and exposed state, “in that moment, when everyone is feeling the same thing, there’s nothing better.”