Call–don’t make texting or posting a status update the default
She was a bright light in the lives of all those she loved and who loved her. She always made me feel worthy and beautiful in countless ways.
And when I couldn’t, she embraced with love and understanding the unique details that make me, me.
She was sweet like caramel brownies topped with a swirl of caramel cream cheese frosting. She was lovely. And she was my true friend.
On Thursday, we had talked at great length and she was still fighting for her life. On Friday, she was hospitalized. By that Saturday, my friend’s spirit and light was gone from this world.
Within a year of her death, her brother brought four of her “closest” friends together to celebrate her life. Most of us were unacquainted with each other, but it was clear that some of us had loved her dearly.
One of the “friends” was a woman who by her own proclamation called herself a “close friend.” Yes, she was such a “close friend” that she didn’t know about my friends’ death until she had been ashes for SIX months. Because this was when this “close friend” finally decided to pick up a freaking phone and call to check in.
Did I forget to mention my friend had been battling breast cancer?! Cancer! The Big C! And her “friend” knew that.
OK! Let me pause to inhale and exhale deeply. Because this r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s-n-e-s-s still makes my scalp itch and my armpits hot and sweaty. Yes, I’m still disgusted by that woman–and I’m sadden by the drought of real, meaningful human connections then and now.
I share this story about my friend to say this…
But Everyone Has a Cellphone
Like androids in a Sci-Fi movie, our smartphones are now a tightly integrated extension of our physical self. In the West, the modern person cannot even take a sh*t without the damn thing tightly clutched in one hand or perched precariously close by.
It seems that while our phones are getting smarter, we got dumber and dumber!
And still too many of us cry we cannot find time to call, to connect with those who should matter.
Maybe, we’re doing too much of the following…
And What about Social Media
We have an exhausting number of social media platforms today. Exhausting!
We collect meaningless “friends” on one.
We chat unintelligibly in 140 characters or less on the next.
We pin like a mad person things we’re unlikely to cook or make, places we won’t visit, and things we’ll never buy on that one.
We share and consume 15-second videos on this one.
And these are only the tip of the social media iceberg.
Even though everybody is following everyone and no one, the majority of the activities we “engage” in on social media are meaningless and worthless. Our in real life relationships are as shallow as a puddle on a busy street with very good drainage after a light rain.
We all have cellphones or smartphones. And there are so many “potential” avenues of connections. Yet, oftentimes, all that can be heard on both ends is the sound of neglect.
We live in an age where we humans have amassed an impressive amount of knowledge about everything–and nothing. I believe it’s accurate to say we’ve achieved more technologically in the last 50 or 60 years of mankind than in all the centuries prior.
BUT we’re, sorrowfully, still incapable of…
- stopping ourselves from creating and living in our own personal, and often secret, lonely worlds of hell;
- showing up and staying for those we claim to love; or
- failing to “taste” the salt of another’s pain and suffering.
Before it’s too late, I urge you to be smart enough to pick up your cellphone or smartphone, call someone, show up, and be brave enough to be vulnerable, exposed. It’s a good start — and isn’t it about time?!