How Connected Are We?

for the sender alex woodardHow connected are we?

This book is about a dog named Kona that died. It’s about a singer-songwriter’s jaded, faded dreams. It’s about heartbreak and loss and grief. It’s about the power of a letter. It’s all this and so much more. It’s a slim book that’s heavy with emotion. But to me, the words that contain its core message are: Life is better when I’m not thinking about me.

In a bid to promote his album, Alex Woodard offers to write a song for anybody who pre-orders his self-titled release. Just send him a letter about your story and he’ll write and record a song about it sitting at his kitchen table. Nothing much comes of it. The record deal falls apart. When Alex’s beloved black Labrador dies with her head in his lap, the last piece of light goes out of his life.

Shortly after Kona’s passing, Alex receives a letter from a woman named Emily. It is one among many letters she writes every autumn to her soulmate Enno who died a few years ago. Ironically, autumn was the season of their meeting and his passing. As Alex “crawls inside Emily’s letter, there is an instant kinship of loss and love and gratitude.” For The Sender is born of this expression.

Soon, one letter turns into four. One song turns into twelve. And all of a sudden, Alex and his musician buddies are writing songs about letters. In the “wreckage of tragedy”–pain, loss, grief, abandonment–they find truths and stories that have universal meaning. In his own words, “All these songs I’ve had a hand in, about someone else’s story and rarely sung in my voice, and I’m happier than ever. It’s my same dream of making a moment in someone else’s life better with a song, but it looks different now.”

What inspires me the most about this beautiful, poetic memoir is the sense of connection which is at the core of all human experience. At the end of the day, there is only one story. And it belongs to all of us. Our individual stories are like myriad colored threads, but together we weave one brilliant tapestry. Every thread has a part to play. No thread is more or less important. It is only when we pull apart that we tear the tapestry and end up with our lives frayed.

How connected are we? We’re connected the moment we realize that all pain is the same. Yours and mine. Once that truth touches your soul, you will never look at life the same way again.

For Alex, the journey began with Kona breathing her last, and him breathing in life through Emily’s offering of a poignant letter.

This is a book that celebrates life and love and the joys of connection. It’s a book that will make you laugh and cry and cheer and embrace the truth of who you are. It’s worth reading and rereading and rereading…

I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

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