Sunday, February 3, 2013
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW
We tweet, we e-mail, we text. Everybody is chatting but is anybody listening?
Perhaps it is my age and stage of life, but it seems suddenly quite clear that we need to restore the vanishing art of conversation. WE NEED TO TALK. And not only do we need to talk, WE NEED TO LISTEN! WE NEED TO HEAR!
It is all too easy to write words out of haste or anger and hit the send button. It is all too easy to leave messages on our answer phone with words that can cut, hurt, and cause irreparable pain. They quickly become stuck in our memories, our hearts and our inboxes. They cause pain, misunderstandings, and heartbreak, as they continually reverberate in our heads.
It isn't all about us. It is about taking the time to close our mouths and open our ears and hear when someone is in pain, or reaching out, or in need of our presence, or soup and tissues or someone to care that we are alone and just don't feel well and need someone to show they care. What we don't need is their ambivalence and attitude of "I am too busy, or too important, and have too much to do to be there for you when you need me." Days and days go by and you get an email, "I hope you are feeling better." Seems like caring just goes out the window. But they reached out in the most impersonal, least compassionate way possible. A way that again tells you that you are not important enough to assist when needed, but because they sent an email their obligation was met and their guilt assauaged. Or you get a text, 'can I do something for you. YES! Thank you! Do you need for me to get anything at the store for you? YES!' I guess this is the 'new' communication.
The other day I was at lunch and out of dozens of customers there with 'friends', almost every person at the table was on his/her cell, texting, tweeting, communicating in some remote fashion. But none of them had any remorse that the person they were with was completely ignored. Rude comes to mind instantly. It tells me that I am not important enough and this person I am with puts me in the backseat while something more important is happening on his/her phone.
It is time to create that moment in our lives, in our friends lives, in the lives of our loved ones where we are really and truly present for them. This is slipping away. Platitudes are issued, "Well let me know what you need." But nothing is forthcoming.
What we need is more touch. We become more human when we touch and are touched. Why? Because when we touch, we are seen. And when we are seen, we realize that our value is not tied solely to our pain and grief. And we find quite soon that our being is not trapped in silence and isolation.
Our feelings are so much a part of what it is to be human. Sometimes, many times, we just need a hand to hold, asking nothing, receiving nothing, just being there and recognizing that we are human, and we hurt, and we need them there.