Do you ever feel like we’ve lost touch with the people we love and care about? We see their Facebook posts or their pictures on Instagram, but do we really know how they’re doing? Do we really know what’s going on in their lives?
Those sweet babies are smiling big in the photo, but how is their mama doing behind the camera (or iPhone)? Is she stressed out? Has she had a shower? Is she barely hanging on? Has she had any adult interaction or conversation in the last 48 hours? Have we bothered to ask her?
That status update is cleverly worded with just a hint of sarcasm and self-deprecating humor. We “love” it and we comment and then we scroll on. Was there something more beneath it? Was it a cry for help? Did we check and see? Did we send a message or pick up the phone and call?
The stomach bug wiped out an entire family. Have we brought them dinner? Grabbed some groceries for them? Run their errands?
A friend recently lost a loved one. She shares her pain, and everyone shares their condolences. Have we sent a card? Brought a meal? Called to listen? Shown up at her house to help?
Someone just landed a new job, received an award, bought a new house. How did we celebrate?
It’s been ages since we’ve had a meaningful conversation with one of our dearest friends. She shares about how busy she’s been and with that one post we feel like we’ve been updated. How much more might she share with us one on one? Is she the good kind of busy? Or is she “getting ready to pull her hair out” busy? How will we ever know if we don’t check in?
Facebook and other forms of social media are wonderful tools to bring people together. It’s satisfying to connect with far-flung family and friends. It’s nice to stay in touch with friends from various stages of life and meet new people along the way.
But they are not a replacement for genuine, personal, real life connection.
I have been the person with the smiling kids and the self-deprecating status update and the new job and the family wiped out by sickness and the lost loved one and the busy schedule. I’ve been barely hanging on by a thread and desperate for a lifeline. A card in the mail, a text from someone, a comforting meal, an offer to help at just the right time were everything to me. They helped me keep my head above water.
There have been just as many times when I never received a text or a call or a card or an offer of help and I’ve never been lonelier in my life. Those were the times I barely made it through by the skin of my teeth, thrashing and crashing through the rough seas of life. I’ve still got deep wounds that may never heal.
It makes me wonder how many people are out there right now desperate for our lifeline.
Think about it. Who comes to your mind right now? Someone hurting. Someone too busy. Someone overwhelmed. Someone sick. Someone celebrating. Someone who could benefit from a card in the mail or phone call today? Someone who could be cheered by a text from you today. Someone who could use a comforting meal or a night out with friends.
We must dig deeper than Facebook and Instagram to get to the root of the people we love and care about. We have to call or text or invite them over or out to see how they’re really doing.
We need relationships with one another on a personal level to survive in the crazy, messy world. We need others to share in our hurt and celebrate in our joy. We simply can’t do it alone. We weren’t meant to do it alone.
Copyright 2019 Leanne Willen