Keep in touch! A simple phrase that once meant, call when you can and send a letter every now and then. Keep in touch is much more literal these days it means do everything in your communication power to stay in touch with me EXCEPT talk to me face to face!!
Here's my view of communication methods, and it's just my view, not the view of this whole blog… wait, this is my blog…. nevermind. This is my view, the blog's view and the view of anyone who would like to take it on.
Telephone — tried and true method that allows you to actually hear the inflection in voice, that slight hint of sarcasm (not that I've ever used it myself…. okay, I've been known to, but I'm working through that), and a smile —- yes, you can hear a smile. Try it… say “Hello, my name is” without a smile and then say the same thing with a smile. Hear it? Told ya.
Email — I can write out just what I want to say. I can think it through, use cute fonts and colors for emphasis, ask specific questions and even use bullets to make my list of requests very clear and concise. I like email because it can keep this chatty soul focused, unlike a phone call. I can call to ask if you'll make brownies for a youth event and stay around to chaperone and we'll end up talking about the great sale at Belk, the need for more low fat ice cream options and why cell phones don't work in the basement at church. See what I mean? I have a problem with focus. Now, I can get off topic in email and even in blog posts…. okay, what's the topic. Oh, yes, email. I like it most of the time, but it's just not the best thing when someone needs a personal interaction. A virtual condolence card just doesn't say “I'm sorry for your loss” as well as …say, a casserole and some sweet tea. Now, that's how we like to show we care about you here in the south.
Instant Message — sort of like email but without the thought process. I love IMs and I hate IMs. I feel the need to respond instantly — after all, isn't that the name? Instant message. Of course, I have to confess that my youngest daughter and I are big on the IM — when she's upstairs and I'm downstairs and please don't think that we live in some huge house. We don't. I'm just too lazy to walk up the stairs to tell her “take out the garbage.”
Texting — Ahh, the great texting debate rages on — do you abbreviate in text messages? Or do you use full sentences? I'm a short and sweet texting person, my youngest daughter can write pages complete with the appropriate puncuation and capitalization and she does all of this with two fingers! Amazing. Texting is a great way to avoid interaction with people. I know people who text when they don't want to talk with the person or when they have something to say that they would rather not say. So, texting is fun when you're stuck in a meeting that's so boring the normally “want to be in the middle of everything and act enthusiastic” people are eye rolling and yawning. There's something to be said for texting your friend who managed to slip out of the meeting with a “wish you were here — boring” message.
I don't mind texting and I've even been known to initiate a few text messages of my own, but I'm not a big texting kind of girl. It makes me nervous and I'm always accidentally sending a half written message and since it takes me ten minutes to write three words, you may be in conversation with me for a long, long while or until I just text you the “call me” message.
Twittering — I signed up, but I don't understand it. Why do people want to follow me on twitter? What are they hoping to learn? I've read others twitter messages and I'm stunned at them: “finished the proposal and now off to the sales meeting” or “Little johnny tinkled in the potty, so proud!” I just feel odd reading them — like I'm looking through your underwear drawer. I don't want to know this much about anyone. It's just not healthy. I don't know this much about myself. Okay, before all the twitter people come after me, I know there are some really cool people who twittter — Michael Hyatt, Important Head Guy with Thomas Nelson is a twitter person, but I am sure he has some amazing twitter stuff happening. “Just signed the most amazing author to write the incredible book” and I should read it, but again, I don't understand it. It feels strange to me. Sort or stalker-like.
Communications are everywhere. We can email, text and twitter without every speaking and we have cell phones for those times when speaking is necessary. We have all of this and yet, we still have loneliness. Lots of it. People need personal interaction. Not an email or a text message. These people need to hear your voice and know you care. Better yet, it would be great if they could hear your voice, see your face, and know that you care.
I look around the world and I wonder what our Lord thinks of us. He's given Americans so much but we still want more. We want the latest, the best and the brightest new toy to communicate, but we don't want to use the gifts He's blessed us with. The Lord has given you a communication style, whether it's a one on one style where you can only talk and connect with just one person at a time or maybe you have a gift that allows you to reach out to large groups and encourage and support them. Whatever style the Lord has blessed you with, use it.
So, here's a challenge. Tomorrow or today, whichever works best for you. Reach out to three people you don't normally speak to and connect. Don't think you have to go wild, just hello and a smile is a great start. And, oh yes, there's more, call the person you were going to text or email and make a face to face visit to another person on your email / text / or twitter list. Now don't just drop in, call first and ask her to meet for coffee or lunch or anything, just connect.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
The light of life. That's you, dear one! Take your light out there and let people see it. Let's connect to each other. Let's reach out to the lonely and the hurting, let's share this light of life.