I had a number of things to get done and places to be, as I ran a quick errand. I met a woman that I hadn’t seen for awhile. I wondered how much time I would have to chat ~ would it have to be a quick “Hello, How are you?” as we walk past one another and be on our way, or would we stop to chat, in which case, my schedule would have to change.
We say “Hello” and when I look her in the eyes, I realize that right here with her is the best place I could be. She asks how I am doing, as I had a bad cold not long ago. I could hardly believe she would remember, as I know she has more serious health concerns happening in her own world. “How are you doing?” I ask. And I hear about her battle with cancer. She is incredibly positive as she discusses the challenges and changes in her life. I enjoy learning and am warmed by her openness. She looks beautiful, and I admire and appreciate her even more. What lessons she offers ~ remaining positive in the midst of scary and challenging times and taking time, like this moment to listen and share.
For weeks from that day, every time I thought of her, I got goose bumps. Our visit was so inspiring and healing, such a wonderful reminder to slow down, take time for people, and remember that connections are essential. They make life meaningful. Now, when I feel it’s necessary to rush, I try to question my hurriedness.
It’s almost like a little battle in my mind. Do I rush around and try to get things done because I should get so much done in a day, or because I will be reporting to someone all I did, or maybe I just want to make things neat and organized for myself by reducing my to-do list. Then I consider, if I’m busy running, am I really living and learning what life is about. It can be tricky, and definitely requires attention and balance.
Sharing our time with others is a form of generosity. It is something that we must do in order to maintain our sense of community and social networks. It’s really no wonder there have been so many social networking tools created in the past years, we crave and genuinely need connections with others. Within the busyness of our society, these tools help, but do not take the place of eye contact and the warmth of face-to-face connections.
When you have the opportunity to plug your ears with buds, glue yourself to your phone, or keep a hectic schedule, consider also the opportunity to hold your head up, notice life around you and reach out to those that are sharing the same space.
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“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb