Seems like a simple enough thing to do; tell others we love them. But the reality is, we don’t do it. We don’t do it enough, or at all, in some cases. Why is that, do you suppose?
Let’s face it, we are too busy, too preoccupied with the inane, with making a living, with the kids, too busy watching sports, or checking our Facebook, emails, Snaps, or any myriad of electronic communications. I’m as guilty as anyone else. Recently I have been making an effort to be “present” when other people are around; to attend to the task at hand instead of multi-tasking. And let’s call it what it is; scrolling through a phone while attempting to have a conversation with another is just plain rude.
I was sitting in my chiropractor’s office the other day and looked around the waiting room; everyone except for me was scrolling through their Facebook or emails, or both and that is typical. Check it out the next time you are in the company of others.
The art of meaningful conversation is in the throes of death, too. We don’t talk enough; I mean really talk and connect with other human beings. When was the last time you had an intimate conversation with your spouse, a close friend, your kids? A conversation that involved depth, a vulnerable conversation that brought feelings to the surface, and not just an exchange of information? A conversation without one or both of you scrolling through Facebook? We have become “ok” with knowing people on a very superficial level, and that’s not really “ok”. How can we truly care for another human being if we don’t “know” them; know what makes them happy, sad, what makes them cry, what causes fear, anxiety, what their hopes, dreams and goals hidden in the depth of their soul may be? News flash; knowing another human being is more than a compilation of Facebook posts and meme’s. Electronic communication has robbed us of our “humanness”, of caring, really caring, for others.
I have thought about this a lot, and I have concluded the two are very much related. It is my belief that the more “electronic” we get, the less human we become. We are no longer concerned that we may hurt the feelings of others, or that we “connect” with others at all, for that matter. Texts and emails are so impersonal, a brief exchange of pertinent information; no more, no less. When we are upset we often communicate in a far more harsh tone than if we were delivering the same message in person. Ever been mad about something or at someone and decided to fire off an email or text? Was it full of capital letters and exclamation points? Anger or frustration expressed in capital letters. It’s kind of dumb, actually, but it gets the point across! Text and email screaming and fist-shaking!
What if electronic communication had been invented and widely used in Yeshua’s (Jesus) day? Can you imagine the Sermon on the Mount, or perhaps the Last Supper with those present scrolling through their Facebook accounts while Yeshua taught the principles of life and love, or was attempting to give direction to His disciples for the days following the crucifixion?
My husband and I got married a year ago. At our wedding one of our best friends gave a toast that ended with, “we don’t say I love you enough”. I was blubbering by that time, and I like to pretend I’m real badass and tough as nails; I’m not. Keep that between you and me! His dad had taught him that very simple, yet profound truth; the best kind of truth. Since that day I have thought a lot about that statement and how it affected me. I am trying to remember, making a conscious effort to say, “I love you” as often as I can to family, friends, those who are special and close to my heart; not as a trite phrase uttered as absent-mindedly as we do “how are you”, or “keep in touch” but to truly communicate the love I have for those people. I have purposed in my heart to speak those three important words more often because we never know when those we love, or we, may breathe our last. We assume those we love will be with us forever; never thinking about the day we will lose that special person(s) in our lives. Those people who have cared for us, nurtured us, prayed for us, comforted us, those who have encouraged us, offered wisdom at just the right moment, or whose simple presence made us feel safe.
Too often, the very words “I love you” have become little more than a spoken “hello”, “good-bye”, or hastily sent emoticon, instead of a powerful statement of unconditional, steadfast solidarity. When did that happen? Marriages, families, and friends relationships end every day, often over issues that could be resolved if the parties involved would talk to each other and share the hurts in their hearts that led to the break-ups. And I often wonder when I say, “I love you” to those I love if they really internalize all that phrase means; I don’t say it nonchalantly, and we shouldn’t. When I have heard “I love you” or seen it in text from others and then a bump in the road ends the relationship I question the other’s depth of “love”; wonder if those three words were just that: words. Electronic communication has trivialized the importance of three of the most powerful words in the human language.
A crazy thing happened on the way to reestablishing my “humanness”; my heart has softened. I now make a conscious effort to think before I speak, send an email, or text so that I monitor the words I use, my tone of voice, and use of capital letters and punctuation. I am more cognizant of the impact my words may have on others. I am less demanding that others attain perfection in my eyes and allow them to be human and all that means. I have a long way to go, but as with changing any behavior, recognizing the problem is the first step.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son……… God loved us so much that He spoke His love for each one of us in the person of Yeshua (Jesus); God incarnate who clothed His love in human flesh. We truly don’t say, “I love you” enough…..