I bought a book that has resonated with me on a very deep level. It’s called Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford. The book is about her discovery of how wonderful life can be without distractions. How many important conversations do you miss because you are checking Facebook or reading emails? How many times have your kids tried to tell you something important while you give them a fragment of attention while staring at a glowing screen. In fact, when is the last time you paused long enough to really look into someone’s eyes? It hurts to acknowledge the truth but one line I love from the book is “The truth hurts, but the truth heals.” If we are not willing to take an honest look at ourselves and the part we play in our relationships, there will never be an opportunity for change. I think of the countless mornings I walk out to the kitchen to see the back of my husbands head as he is lost somewhere in a sea of email. I think of each evening he comes home to find me in the same place rushing to get dinner on the table and not even pausing for a second to look at his face and say hello.
Often, I feel very much alone. Even sitting in a room full of family, there is often little if any conversation and not a single hint of eye contact. Someone is listening with their eyes glued to the tv while another is in between laughing quietly to herself at the latest snapchat. I’ve thought long and hard about having a mandatory time that everyone shuts it down. Computers get put away and phones are turned of and put out of sight. We are addicts of technology. If we add up the time I spent on my ipad, my daughter on her phone, my son playing video games and my husband on his laptop, the results would be devastating. I cannot even bring myself to realistically count because I know how disturbed it would make me feel.
My point is this. There is nothing more precious than human contact. To feel someones presence in close proximity is about what interaction should be about. Find a way to give that person at least as much time, focus and attention as you would a casual snapchat or a habitual text. In fact I challenge you and myself, to give that person so much more. It is no wonder so many people feel depressed and alone. A glowing screen cannot replace a real conversation or one on one time with someone we love. We have allowed it to happen and it is now our responsibility to make it stop.
I was telling my mother about the book and we were talking about how we’ve convinced ourselves that having a good relationship is sitting side by side with the tv on, laptops in hands. I told her how nice it would be to really connect with someone simply by holding hands. Her response? Who does that anymore? She makes a great point. If our hands are already full with so many gadgets, connecting on a real physical level will be a thing of the past. I am committed to finding my way back to simpler times. Times when I felt loved and appreciated and a bare minimum….seen. Human touch and feeling someone’s eyes staring back at yours is just what we need to become un- numb. Relationships feel so robotic anymore and I want to feel so much more. How about you? Will you join me in becoming hands free?