Connection. What happened to it?
We live in an age where at the push of a button we can video chat or instant message anyone, anytime, from anywhere. The resources available at our fingertips make communication easier than ever. But does this endless array of communication really help us connect? Like really connect. I don't mean surface level "liking" of your friend's picture on Facebook. I mean raw, intimate, meaningful conversation. Knowing someone inside and out and actually caring for their well-being.
How has a pandemic year turned into the year of lost connection? We have more free time with cancelled events and cleared off calendars. Have we really slowed down and enjoyed the calmness and simplicity of what is right in front of us, or have we just filled our time with other meaningless distractions? In a time of stress and uncertainty we should be leaning into the connections that bring us peace and comfort. However, when we take a look around we see division, not connection. If 2020 wasn't a loud enough wake up call, I am terrified to see what is around the corner of this year and beyond.
We are missing out on so many connections that are not a luxury to human beings, they are a vital necessity.
People need people. Period. Whether we like to admit it or not. Whether we like each other or not. We need each other and are connected in ways we can't even imagine. We have the choice every day to sharpen each other or cut each other down. Which will you chose? We are better, we are stronger when we come together despite our differences.
So how do we make changes for real connection right now? One step at a time, one relationship at a time. Start at home. When you walk in the door and ask your spouse or kids or whoever is there "how was your day," do you actually listen? Do you actually care? We are so consumed with multitasking and production, we have lost the power of listening. Take the time to care for the people around you and they will be sharpened. Relationships take effort, will that effort be used to build each other up or pick each other apart?
I know I am guilty myself. Nothing makes me feel worse than when my girls ask me a question and I am so busy trying to do three things at once, I don't even hear what she says. There is nothing more awakening than the look on your little ones face when she says "Mom, aren't you going to answer my question?" The sad thing is, so many times I can't, because I am just going through the motions of hearing what she has to say. Ouch.
Make sure the people you love feel heard. When we give our intentional attention, we get so much more in return. Even though we can't control how the people around us act, we can control how we treat other people. Remember the golden rule...treat others as you would like to be treated. It really works, try it. Sometimes the attention we give will return more than we can imagine.
*A great resource that everyone should read is The Five Love Languages By Gary Chapman. He explains the keys to really connecting that can change any relationship in your life.