Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.
~Augustine of Hippo
“Where’s Connor?” I sent them all out as a group while I stayed home with the baby, and I expected them to come back together.
I counted the children. The rest had made it home from the 4th of July celebration at the beach. It was dark and everyone knew instinctively to keep loved ones close so as not to let them get swept away in the tide of people making their way back to their cars parked about half a mile away.
Connor was gone. And he was only 4.
He’d left the beach with the group we sent him with, but when they turned right he went straight. I don’t remember how it all came together, but we got a call that he’d made it to Main Street and a man, seeing he was lost, flagged down a policeman who just happened to know our family, and were reunited.
There were so many people that night. One took action. I’m in awe when I think about how differently it could have turned out.
We are all brothers and sisters. That’s my belief. And families look out for each other. We notice each other and are engaged when time and circumstance permits.
One at a time. That’s how we connect. To me nothing is random. Everybody’s important.
Last night I went with a friend to visit an elderly couple. He’s 93, she’s 90. My friend cooked them dinner and I did a little cleaning and chatting. The husband came and whispered that his wife needs more help because she won’t stop driving. A new schedule of caregiving was made and he went to break the news to her as she ate her dinner. That car was her only connection to the outside world.
That and the mail.
My friend and I listened to the woman complain about the difficulty she was having sorting through all of it. Honestly, I think that the mail was the only thing she could think of talking about. And sorting it kept her busy. My friend secretly went through the stacks and got rid of the junk and piled up the important pieces for her to think about.
All I could think, as I wandered around their house was that they must have photo albums.
We are going to have to sit down together so they can tell me some stories. I’m sure they have plenty of them.
There is loneliness in the world, even in families that don’t know how or don’t desire to connect. For me it’s so simple. Everyone is a walking story. I’m enriched whenever I meet a new one. Sometimes the gift is reciprocated, but people are busy and very out of practice when it comes to having a conversation. We all want to be heard.
Connecting requires listening, asking questions, and serving in meaningful ways.
Just a thought. And two questions:
- The Internet connects us as “friends” and “followers”. How has that worked for you?
- How aware are you of the people who cross your path every day?