The Human Connection … OK, in the last few days I have paid my bills online, ordered a new monitor on Amazon, took pictures of a couple checks and deposited them right through the app on my phone, went to the USPS to mail a large envelope which I did through the kiosk, took cash out of my account at an ATM, sent some e-cards to friends, and probably at least a dozen texts. It was so easy to do and accomplish rather quickly. Even the car wash was virtual.
Today I took my sister to get her COVID booster shot. First, we stopped for a couple of egg McMuffins at the golden arches. The line was crazy so we went in. I\A sign instructed us to make our order ‘right here’—pointing to another kiosk. I had questions that the kiosk couldn’t answer and the nice gentleman at the counter said, “can I help you, those things confound me.” I laughed, asked my questions and he responded with kindness and was also funny. Our breakfast came quickly and we were on our way. His cheerfulness made my day.
Then we did some grocery shopping but didn’t take the self-pay as there isn’t enough room on those for a large cart of food! The cashier was so kind and also had a smile a mile-wide. Believe me, she helped take the sting out of the cost of my groceries! She wished us a Happy Thanksgiving and we returned that blessing, even to the guy waiting behind us. We did bag our own stuff as I’m picky but I admit, it was nice to be noticed, nice to be recognized, nice to see smiling faces and the beauty of a human voice.
That’s when I got to musing about these past few days and the very-little interaction I had with people. It’s like you’re out in a great big world but all alone. You can push a button, send a click on the computer, whiz through a drive-thru fast food and so much more that you find yourself speaking to yourself because you haven’t spoken to anyone else! And for me, I do wonder who is that “voice” speaking to you from a kiosk—truly it has to be a robot?!!
You know what—we are losing the Human Connection! The more I thought about it, the more I realized how dangerous that is. In Romans 12:10 [ESV], the Apostle Paul writes: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” I decided to go Bible-digging for a few more examples, there were many but I liked these three:
“My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn’t living right. Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone.” –1 Thessalonians 5:14 [CEV]
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” -Hebrews 10: 24-25 [NLT]
When we came home today I put the stuff away and headed to what I knew now was what I wanted to share for this weekend. (You have no idea how many times I change stuff!) I opened the “dearth of my stories, quotes, etc” because my mind was conjuring up a story that was pertinent to the human connection. It had something to do with the post office, too. I found 5 of them, but this one is the one I was looking for – enjoy it and let it sink in!!
“Alice always went to a post office that was further away from her home but she loved it because the postal folks were friendly and helpful—even to the crabby folks. The year she lost her beloved husband Charlie the first part of December was tough on her. She was late getting her Christmas cards done but she wasn’t about to allow grief to snuff her joy of Christmas. She walked into the post office to get stamps and the line was really-really long and Alice’s arthritis wouldn’t allow her to stand for a long time. With her own body pain and the loss of Charlie, it was easy for the tears to suddenly well up in her eyes.
The young man waiting next to her pointed out that she didn’t have to wait because this post office finally installed a stamp machine in the lobby. “I know” Alice told him tearfully, “but that machine won’t ask me about my arthritis, it won’t tell me things will be OK again, it won’t say I’m sorry Charlie died, it won’t…” she began to sob, trying to keep back the tears, hanging her head and one could see she was quite shaken-up.
What happened next can only be chalked up to a “God-moment.” Alice was trying to cover her tears and didn’t see the young man wave to the folks in front who also had heard and witnessed his encounter with Alice. One-by-one they parted the line and a young mom and her two kids said, “Ma’am, please take our spot. It would be an honor.”
Alice didn’t quite know what to do with such instant kindness; within seconds, 3 of the USPS workers stopped everything, came out to Alice, put their arms around their good friend and grieved with her loss of Charlie. Obviously, it didn’t take long for the rest of the long line to step in and connect with this wonderful woman’s heart and soul.” (From The Rest of the Story by Paul Harvey.)
So often today in our world of mass communication and high-efficiency processes, it’s easy to miss the human connection. Sadly, this type of isolation invades our churches, families, and relationships. We go through life with blinders on, forgetting how much we need one another.
I propose we slow down a step, talk to others, pass-up the kiosk and talk to a ‘real’ human. I think it would be a remarkable change in our world, don’t you? What has happened to us that we leave out a ‘thank-you’ or ‘your help was just what I needed’ or even those old clichés’— ‘you made my day’ or ‘have a nice day’ – it’s a fact that little words of kindness grow in another’s heart and yours as well.
I think a simple human connection can do amazing things in our lives and in turn, in the lives of others. As you go through your day, don’t just text a word, bypass a worker, or allow busyness to take your eyes off the people around you. You are connected—we all are connected because ALL of us are God’s children…and what a blessed connection that is!