In the busyness of life, we really need to pause, step back and see what is happening around us. With our schedules filled with appointments, deadlines, lessons and events, we can sometimes miss what's directly in front of us.
As the season has changed, and winter cold is setting in, we tend to stay indoors more. This can prove to be isolating, and we can lose connections with others. This is an especially important fact with seniors and those who are shut into their homes. Statistics tell us that loneliness is an epidemic now with people of all ages. People are busy, spending time on computers and screens, talking about being "busy" as though it's a badge of honor. We head to the gym with others, to run on a treadmill all with ear plugs in place listening to music or the tv positioned in front of us. Taking a brisk walk outside on a cooler day has its advantages. Besides meeting others, it seems to wake up my system and I feel so ALIVE! The crunching of the snow, the little squirrels and wild rabbits scrambling to find seeds on the ground, the birds singing in the swaying branches - it's all part of my neighborhood. Yet, I miss it when I'm focused on my errands and schedules. When I'm in a hurry, I miss so much.
How often I've been to an event, busy chatting with friends, and realized at the end of the evening that no one had spoken to the lady at the next table. How easy it is to join the same group for lunch while someone is standing close enough to hear, and close enough to know they're on the outside. A lot of us want to make a difference and help others, and yet it could be that the one to help is the one who is right in front of us. During the next few weeks, it's my own challenge to be in the moment and really see what's going on around me.
The other evening, my entire neighborhood lost power for about 45 minutes. It got cold inside, but I had a cozy blanket, and a good collection of candles. It was SO quiet. No tv, no music, no fridge motor. I was just going to heat up my supper, so that didn't even happen. At first I wasn't sure what to do. I discovered the batteries in my flashlight were dead, so I used the little flashlight on my phone. It was a strange feeling only hearing silence, and it was really really dark. That's when I decided to check on a couple of senior neighbors to make sure they were ok. They were, but more so, they were thankful that someone had thought of them. The power came back on as quickly as it left. Other than the blinking of the oven clock, I'd have forgotten. But, in those moments of darkness my thoughts went still, and I was able to pause. I had been unable to see the 7 open tabs on my laptop. And what I wanted to do was phone a friend and talk to a person instead of a screen ... to hear another voice.
Just knowing we aren't alone brings comfort. In the daily challenges of life - installing a new light fixture, changing the batteries in our chirping smoke detector, getting a ride when we need one, helping push out a car stuck in the snow, or receiving a phone call to see if we're ok - it all connects us together.
Especially in this season - let's slow down and really be in the moment - to enjoy each day and each person as the gift that they are.
Let's stop for the one, and become a stronger community together … we were never created to figure this out on our own.