Every day we walk by people without a single thought. We don’t wonder their name, who they are, why they look the way they look. We simply walk by and continue with our busy lives. Sometimes we don’t even look up from our phones! With the world turning into a digital era are we destined to only communicate through technology? Does meeting new people have to be defined by their Facebook or Twitter account? Do we judge people by the interest they have on social media and decide who they are by the photos they have; without a single real interaction?
The world is changing, and human interactions are changing. I have been judging myself a lot lately and monitoring how much technology I use daily; I have to say I don’t like where I’m heading! Over the past two months, I have been actively trying to set my phone aside and have truer human interactions. I am pleased to report that I have been doing well at this and made amazing new connections! Just last week I took a friend for an appointment and had the most wonderful experience.
I took a friend to the VA Clinic where I usually sit in the waiting room for an hour or two (depends on how long it takes for his appointment) and play on my cell phone. This time I shut my phone off and put it away. While I sat quietly looking around I would smile at people hustling by. I noticed and smiled nicely to an elderly woman and man waiting to be seen. She smiled back and continued to knit, while he didn’t look up from his newspaper. The office moved at a quick pace all around us, but they just sat and waited patiently for their turn. As people shuffled in and out, I observed the older gentlemen slide his hand over and gently hold the woman’s hand. I hadn’t noticed her hands were shaking while holding her knitting needles. The man didn’t even seem to look her way or appear to be paying any attention to the woman. Somehow, he just knew she needed his hand to encompass her hand. I could see the tears welling up behind her tired eyes, with a deep sigh she pulls the tears back and composes herself again. He held her hand for a moment longer before returning his hand to the newspaper. Never looking her way or making any other gestures to her. He just knew what she needed at that moment. How did he know? He didn’t look up from his paper, she made no noise, how did he know? What a relationship that must be, to just know what your partner needs. What kind of love must have been shared between this amazing couple for him to know how to comfort her without uttering a single word. What kind of love must that be for such an insignificant hand motion to bring her such undying comfort? The touch of his hand comforted her on such a level I don’t believe I fully understand it all.
The strength this woman displayed in just a single sitting brought a tear to my eye. I didn’t know what torment she was battling or the pain that was hiding beneath here strong façade. All I did know, was with a simple touch of his hand she was ok again. There was no look exchanged between them. No words of comfort. Simply a slow, compassionate light hand movement and it changed her whole outlook. You could feel the connection between them.
To this day I don’t know the story behind the elderly couple. All I know is the way they affected me and my outlook on life.
By turning off my phone and waiting patiently I got to feel the world around me. I don’t know if the people bustling by witnessed what I witnessed or if they even cared, but I noticed, and I cared.
Be thankful for the little things in life, the touch of a hand, or a quick smile. Take the time to notice and be thankful for the people who come into your life, if only for a moment.
I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks putting down my phone and seeing what comes of it. I will be sure to share with you all my experiences and hope you can share some of yours as well!