Written Nov. 2007
I’m convinced our society is turning into a completely disconnected network of faceless identities. Sure we have technology; just gimme ur # & ill txt u plz. But the industry that originally vowed to keep us more connected has really deceived us. Instant messaging and Facebook make it easier for us to confront one another, at least through those mediums. What about face-to-face contact? I find that I have a huge problem making eye contact with people when I speak to them probably thanks to my e-mail and Facebook accounts. Also, why do I send a Happy Birthday greeting on facebook to someone when she lives in the same residence hall as I do? This is proof that our society has become totally disconnected from one another. Sure, my little brother could probably quote every single episode of Latest Anime Cartoon on Channel 11, but can he carry on a conversation with someone without being obnoxiously loud or making slapstick comedic remarks? The answer, my friend, is no.
The whole thing that prompted me to write this article is actually present here on campus, and I think it is the root of many other problems concerning the state of our Christian community, specifically (the greater community, too, if one exists): I see someone that I may or may not be familiar with on the sidewalk, we pass, neither she nor I make an effort to make eye contact, smile or say “Hi.” What is the deal with that? We are on the same small Christian college campus, right? I have no excuse not to smile or nod at someone when I pass them, no matter how crumby I’m feeling or how crumby the weather is outside.
I cannot express the amount of joy I get from someone I don’t know saying “hi” to me on the sidewalk. Granted I may be needy and wanting attention, but is it really all that bad for me to feel loved by eye contact and genuine effort to acknowledge my presence? I don’t think so either.
Let me lay down a little ditty for you: I’m walking from one of my night classes to dinner and I see this girl who is in a few of my classes, to whom I have never talked, mind you. As I’m walking, she greets me with, “Hey girl! How are you?” and a big smile. I was planning on ignoring her, or maybe smiling or saying “hi,” but when she approached me with that greeting, I was so pleasantly surprised that the only thing I could say back to her was, “Oh my gosh! You are so cute!” She made my night, not even kidding. I looked like an idiot because I didn’t even answer her question, but I took so much joy in the fact that she took a slight interest in my well-being that it didn’t really matter to me.
As Christians, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our neighbors. For me not to say “hi” to a Wengatz guy or even a fellow English girl seems blatantly antithetical to the doctrine of Christ to which I hold so dearly. Even though that may seem slightly dramatic, what would we lose by practicing something so simple and sincere?
The same concept can apply to other situations as well—you are in IHOP with four of your great friends, having a ball and enjoying chocolate chip pancakes, of course. Your server comes up and tells you his name…do you take notice? Do you or any of your friends make an effort to summon his service or thank him by using his name instead of impersonally waving your hand or saying “excuse me?”
Case number three: At school, I share a living space with about 25 other girls. One of the girls goes around every single night to give hugs and kisses goodnight to every single girl on the wing. She may not even know them that well, but she insists upon sharing and showing the love that she has in her heart.
Based on these three situations, it is obviously not that hard to relate to one another on a human level. Human beings are able to relate to one another with an equal amount of love to go around. Let me say that again: we have unlimited amounts of love to give. Love never runs out. It’s not quantitative. Can you imagine having five kids but loving the first four so much that you had none left for the fourth? You and I were made for human contact and affection even though we so often neglect the senses that enable us and empower us to share that special bond with our fellow fleshy ones.
I challenge you to do something about this.