WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Wired for Connection

By Erin Powers

"I believe that life is chaotic, a jumble of accidents, ambitions, misconceptions, bold intentions, lazy happenstances, and unintended consequences, yet I also believe that there are connections that illuminate our world, revealing its endless mystery and wonder."
—David Maraniss

A string of lit Christmas lights, with small white bulbs, tangled around a person's arms.

It’s a familiar scene each holiday: no matter how meticulously the strings of lights were put away, they always seem to come out a tangled mess. What happens to them all through the year as they wait in their boxes?

And so the tradition of untangling the lights begins. We unwind them carefully, uncrossing and unlooping wires, stretching them out to their full length, all the while being mindful to not damage the bulbs which hold so much potential.

I find that people aren’t that different. We often feel like a jumbled mess of string lights: tangled up within ourselves, not knowing how to get undone or how to get back to our sparkly selves — especially when the holidays approach. Throughout the year, each struggle adds another tangle to the lights until by year’s end, we’re wound so tightly that we don’t even know where to begin. Sometimes we need a little help to sort ourselves out.

It’s been said that it’s easier to untangle a string of lights if you plug them in; the brightness of the little bulbs help to guide our fingers through the tangles. It’s no different for people. Connecting with friends, family, therapists, or trusted advisors can shine a little light to help us untangle ourselves, and to help us stretch out to our full potential.

Humans, just like strings of lights, are wired for connection. It’s when we’re wound most tightly that we need the connection most of all. We’re at our best when we are plugged in to each other. We find our true purpose and spark with others, not alone — and it’s in these connections that we shine most brightly.

Great and endless mystery and wonder, may you never stop giving us opportunity for connections that light the fire inside each of us. And may we never stop seeking and reaching out for connections with each other, even when we are so tangled and wound so tightly that we struggle to find the plug.

About the Author

Erin Powers

Erin Powers has served as the Director of Religious Exploration at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa since 2012. Outside of congregational life, she is a homeschooling parent, aspirational homesteader and all around creative soul. She and her husband share their home with three children,...


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