AND Make It Personal

December 10th, 2017

In this day of everything fast and convenient, I am wondering whether we have stopped truly seeing people as they are, and not as we want or expect them to be. When we reach out to communicate with others, do we really pause to see, acknowledge, and think about the method we use to make a deeply personal connection with another person?

How often do we pick up the telephone or use a live video connection to offer help, support, or a listening ear? Do we still prioritize the human connection through voice, when we cannot be there in person, or are we more inclined to send a quick text or email? The thoughtful art of letter writing, sending cards with heartfelt messages, and enclosing notes with packages or lunches appears to be fading or disappearing entirely.

The convenience of sending messages of congratulations or sympathy through emails, instant messages, or other apps is changing the personal connection. Rather than engaging an awkward conversation, tapping into uncomfortable feelings, or making time in our tightly planned schedules, do we hide behind technology?

In sending instant messages, while there is acknowledgment of others, the comfort of a written note or card that can be held in one’s hand and saved to be re-read to provide renewed comfort in more trying moments is missing. We now live in a world where the time to go to the store to buy a card, the money to pay for the card, the time and money to buy postage, and the time to focus on writing a note that can be held and re-read are seen as something between inconvenient, a waste of time, and impossible.

When we prioritize the humanity of connecting with others personally, we create the space in our lives to visit, call, write a thoughtful and heartfelt message…just because it matters most to us that others know we are thinking about them and care. Have we become so over-scheduled and self-important as to stop caring about others more than our schedules when we deem the investment of time and energy would be inconvenient? Have we stopped pausing to think about what might bring others a note of cheer, a warm touch when feeling alone, a condolence when suffering loss?

For those who do not seek the face-to-face connections and thoughtful notes, technology is quick and ever-present. For those who feel unseen or unloved, technology merely reinforces the impersonal connection that allows the sender to check the box without feeling the connection.

This season is difficult for many, even as others celebrate joyfully. Perhaps each of us could offer one small personal connection to someone…just because it might bring a smile. AND that personal touch might just be enough to warm a heart and share the connection.

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