We can access any person, answer any question, find any form of entertainment with a device that fits in the palm of our hand virtually connecting us to the world. But we feel as lost and disconnected as ever. I think it's that "virtual" part that is the problem. Nothing substitutes for person to person, face to face connection.
My recent house concert tour in the Northwest confirmed this simple fact again for me. I can play or stream a song anytime anywhere but hearing an artist in person moves and connects me to my heart and head and to other people more than almost anything else I do.
It's about as old-fashioned as you can get: standing in someone's living room with no lights, no sound system, just a voice and a guitar telling stories and singing songs.
The biggest acts of generosity came from the hosts (Mary Edwards & Ann Joyce, Nancy & Alan Spragins, and Ann Dasch & Tony Allport) who opened up their homes (and did all the cleaning, cooking and preparation that often entails) and invited friends and colleagues. I'm also grateful to the people who attended--extendingthemselves to hear something new and to my classmates from Davidson College who drove an hour and took a ferry to see me and hear the concert (surprising each other on the ferry).
The concerts themselves were magical: laughter, feet tapping, two standing ovations (!). I especially remember: my friend Mary (whom I have always been in awe of) telling the crowd about the first time she heard me sing, the woman wiping tears away from her face during "Laughing Through My Tears" (I learned later she is caring for a dying friend), my sister Nancy introducing me and saying me she is proud of me (most sisters never get to hear those words), two people saying a public thank you in a church prayer for the spiritual I had just sung, and the woman who yelled out "but is it a cover if you sing it better than the original?" making me totally crack up on stage. I had long conversations with friends and family—some of whom I hadn't seen in many years and many conversations with new friends. It was healing and affirming for all of us, and I am so grateful.