[Dis]connected

This quote by Mother Teresa haunts me so. While we may have different opinions and life experiences from those around us, we are — as she so wisely observed — all still connected. Why? In my view, it’s because every person has been fashioned in the image of God (see the early chapters of Genesis for reference), even if those who bears His image refuse to acknowledge or behave in ways that honor His existence.

Despite the strides our society has made in technology, it seems that we are all more [dis]connected from one another (in terms of intimacy and shared experiences). Everything things to be about a “like” here, a “follower” there — as if the sum of our worth can somehow be defined in terms of clicks and page views.

In our world today, it sure seems like most everyone is shouting, “Look at me,” because clearly, we only really matter if others think highly of us. This a dangerous business. If so, then we must work feverishly each day to maintain this steady stream of favor. Otherwise, what happens when we stop performing and the likes and follows start to subside?

But don’t you think that we have perhaps gotten it backwards? Doesn’t the Bible encourage us to look around and try to connect with the humanity that we see all around us? We may not always be successful in this endeavor, but we can surely try. How? Well, Jesus left us a pretty solid example to follow: we do so one person at a time, one burden at a time, one day at a time. Even though He had nowhere to lay His head at night and was terribly betrayed by those closest to Him, the Lord still found time to touch the lives of others through a blend ordinary and truly extraordinary ways.

How was it ordinary? Well, I love that Jesus was never flashy. Dealing with the crazy man at the graveyard? He just told the evil spirits to flee and away they went. Oh, and you say that Lazarus died? No problem! Call the brother by name and watch him be recalled to life. Betrayed by a close friend (Peter)? Meet him on the beach with breakfast in tow and shower him with grace and truth — rather than harsh rebuke — and then watch a man get delivered. Need to pay your federal taxes to Ceasar? Who needs a bank? Just head to the Sea of Galilee, find a random fish in the water, open its mouth, and voila — there is your tax money. Do we know how He did these things? No. Did He simply care for others in simple — yet extraordinary — ways? He sure did, and we can do the same.

Also, one of the most effective ways Jesus showed that He cared for others by listening to them. Someone would come to Him with a concern, and He would give that person His full attention and then ask him/her a follow-up question that struck at the very heart of the matter. Then He would wait quite patiently for the response.

Other times, He knew that the best way to connect with those around Him was by telling stories (parables) about everyday experiences filled with life lessons that most people would be able to understand. During these times, He commanded their full attention. People did not have their iPhones out, scrolling through their daily Twitter feed. No, He took time to be really present with them and honored them with His presence and attention; in response, they did the same — even if only for a little while,

Could it be that we are so [dis]connected (I call it “scrolling through life”) that we are no longer able to look around, observe God’s creative handiwork in another person, and attempt to connect to with someone around us in a small yet meaningful way? No, here on the backside of 2019, it sure seems that we would rather just look the other direction. Could it even be that the parable of the Good Samaritan is more relevant today than it was when Jesus walked the earth? And are we so busy scrolling through life that we completely bypass those who are hurting or are otherwise in need? It sure seems that way.

Years ago, I was sharing a taxi with someone (she looked to be twenty-something), and we were the only two people sharing the cab. Since we had a lengthy drive ahead of us, I thought I would smile and say hello. Her response? Nothing. The woman did not even respond or acknowledge my presence in any way. The message I received that day was I did not matter. Not even enough to say hello. And whatever happened to manners and social graces?

It is a dangerous business when we find our primary sense of belonging and identity in the public domain. I’m not saying that social media is evil (I equate it how the Bible talks about money — it’s there to be used, but if you start finding your worth in it, then it’s all downhill from there), but we need to use it with discernment.

Perhaps it is finally time for us to put our devices down and look around? Maybe enjoy a beautiful walk outside, or ask the cashier at the grocery story how his day is going, and really stop to listen to the answer? I don’t think it’s difficult to begin the  re+connection process — it simply requires intention and commitment.

Mother Teresa poses a good question, no? Could it be that we have no peace because we have forgotten that we belong to each other? Something for us to think about as we navigate the rest of this week and beyond — may our focus be loving God and loving one another (as the Bible commands), rather on than loving ourselves and merely “liking” one another.

Mother Teresa Peace Quote

17 thoughts on “[Dis]connected

    1. Very good observations! I am in full agreement. Also, I’m reflecting on your post about the Amish community from 2017 —the more I think about it, the more I believe that they truly are onto something. I’m not saying that we should all pursue that lifestyle, but I know that there are some important lessons that we can learn from them.

      Also, I don’t know if I shared this with you, but I knew a student – much younger than me – who made intentional decision to not have a smart phone, because he didn’t like how much time it took from his and others’ lives.. So he has a flip phone, and is very content with that. He may be onto something, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is so true isn’t it how when we look we can learn important lessons. The flip phone thing is something to think about. I remember the day when we waited to get home and listen to the answering machine. Now we take the call whether it be in the restaurant or the restroom.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, I remember well the answering machine days! Also, I recall how excited we were when the cordless house phones became available, too. 🙂 Even then, only one could be on the phone at a time — those were the days!

        I feel that we are a little too accessible these days. I also really get frustrated by the volume of robocalls that I receive each day — it feels like such an invasion of privacy compared to even a few years ago.

        I am trying to do a little less with my mobile, so today I treated myself to a “device-free morning”. It was actually quite refreshing — perhaps I’ll make it a more regular thing moving forward. It seems that too much phone time is not only bad for our bodies, but for our hearts and minds, too. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Trying to do so! It’s so easy to be connected to our mobile devices and disconnected from everyone else – I don’t want to scroll through my life, I want to live it!

        Like

  1. I said when the internet came out that it would be the downfall of society. Reading the Bible we see that we have always been on the downfall side of things but “online” has helped speed up the process. I love talking to people. I get nervous when out and about and I tend to chatter. But I have found that there is so much beauty in a conversation with another child of God(even if they don’t know they are a child of God) BUT I have also found that there are so many children of God out there that when His name is brought up that they are starving to talk about Him. Joyful noises to our Precious God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have missed you, Margaret! 🧡 I have been praying about your situation, and will try to catch up on your blog more fully. I’m really praying that your housing situation has begun to turn the corner.

      You are so right about the advent of the technology age. I’ve seen huge shifts in simple things like manners, politeness, and professionalism just within my lifetime because people seem to value their devices more than they seem to value interacting with other people in real time. Even more tragically, they often don’t know how to even be polite, because their lives primarily are filled with emoji, social media, and the like.

      Did I ever tell you the story of the sixtg grade student I met this year, who dreamed of being a professional vocalist, but did not seem to think that he needed to play an instrument or learn how to read music? I was trying to reason with him, helping him to understand that music is just like a foreign language – knowledge of its basic principles and theory can only help you. I explained how valuable it is to be able to look at a piece of sheet music and understand what’s written on the page.

      He looked at me blankly and said, “that’s what YouTube is for — why would I need to know theory when I can just go online and hear the the song that way?” I was stunned, but sadly not surprised.

      And I am want to talk! I need to more carefully scrutinize my screen time, too. That’s why I’ve been a little less frequent if you’re on WordPress (and technology in general), even though I really miss chatting with everybody. 🙏🏾

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is amazing. I was talking with hubby about it today. Manners as we use to call it have gone by the wayside but online there is nothing but smiley faces. People rarely make eye contact because it honestly makes them uncomfortable. It is a strange act. Sad but true.

        I just posted an update. Praise the LORD He is providing more for me than I certainly deserve but I am so grateful and feel so blessed it is hard to put into words.

        Don’t worry about less screen time. More God time is better for us all anyway 🙂 Always has been and always will be 🙂 I love you Sister, whether I talk to you every day or every year. You are in my heart and prayers 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So true about the manners, Margaret (or lack thereof). It’s the combination of entitlement, lack of effort, and absence of respect for those in authority that I find to be the most vexing these days.

        I must pop over to your blog to catch up and get the latest update. I am relieved to hear that you and your husband are in a more stable place now — that is an answer to prayer!!! I will still keep you in my prayers, dear friend. Must love to you as well, Margaret — you are a blessing! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your treatise on the issue of (dis)connect is exactly right. I am seeing more and more studies on the effects of so much screen time, and the most common concern is depression. I believe, as you do, that it’s due to not actually being connected with people. We think we are, because there they are, right on our screen. But it’s impersonal. We can’t look into their eyes, sense their body language / moods / temperaments. I think God designed us to have a need to incorporate physical presence and interaction into our hearts and perspectives.
    And yes, we count too much on likes and follows. I am reminded of John 12.43, “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” We are to love God first; when we love Him first, then flows through us His love for others. When we work for the praise and recognition from others, we are not obeying God; and He will not give us the resources to do that which is not His will.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen, Kathy! And what you say about the screen time is so very true. Sadly, people these day seem to be so needy for attention that they also seem to be ill-equipped to give it to others, so everyone walks around more or less saying, “look at me!”

      I am reminding myself that I blog because of the joy of it, not because I’m trying to amass this massive following. Even with this blog and my first one, Daily Thankful, I never did anything to promote either one. I have found that the Lord sends the people (and He sends me to their blogs) at just the right time. 🙂

      I am starting to feel better, so I am determined to catch up on the comments this evening! I have missed everyone so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Sadly, people these days seem to be so needy for attention that they also seem to be ill-equipped to give it to others” – oh, so absolutely yes!
        Very glad to see you back, and to hear you’re starting to feel better. 🙌☺

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Kathy! I was better and then had another setback last week, so I am still behind here. Thank the Lord that I am getting better again, but I really need to take things one day as a time.

        As always, I appreciate your patience. 🧡

        Liked by 1 person

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