Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:4
The picture above looks similar to my local Starbucks. No, it’s not in an airport, but there is one striking similarity I noticed as I waited in line this morning for my triple grande caramel soy mocha with no whip and caramel drizzle-every single person in line was furiously texting and scrolling away on their cell phones. Eyes downcast. Oblivious to anyone and anything around them.
And, I am among those people. Distracted by every chime, every notification, every tweet, every up-to-the-minute status update.
Eyes downcast. Oblivious to anything and anyone around me.
Oblivious to the ones who are hurting, heartbroken, and desperately hoping someone will look up and see the pain and sorrow in their eyes.
We continue to be shocked when we hear news of someone who is so sad and lonely they would see no way out but to take their own life, and as the world stands in shock once again with the death of Robin Williams, we ask ourselves these questions: Why weren’t the signs not noticed? Why wouldn’t he or she reach out for help? How can we miss the signs so often when tragedies like this occur?
Many answers come to mind, but as I stood today noticing I am just as guilty of shutting out the world, I could not help but wonder how much my inability to connect with people beyond my cell phone contributes to some of the hurt people feel. Contributes to the inability to look beyond what is going on in iPhone land, and look for signs of the brokenhearted.
When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13
However, I have often been too eager and willing to share my emotions by updating my “status,” and too hesitant to reach out and share them with those who matter the most-my family, my friends, and most importantly, God.
I have opened my Facebook app instead of my Bible.
I have reached out to Twitter followers instead of confiding in a friend.
I have hidden behind my cell phone in order to avoid eye contact with someone I just didn’t feel like talking to.
I have avoided looking up and reaching out to those who may need a caring word the most, someone who may need a smile, a kind word, or a simple gesture that someone truly sees they do exist.
And, I know how much easier it is to be honest with our invisible followers, than those who may stand face-to-face with us.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you. Matthew 6:33
If I can put down my cell phone and look up when I am lonely. Look to Him for hope in a dark and sinful world. Look to Him for healing in the midst of brokenness, I can then be equipped to provide others with the same hope and peace. Look around and see people are hurting, and trying hard to hide it behind smiles and jokes.
Because the word no one wants to hear, the one very few understand, and many are quick to deem as a selfish act, has touched many lives and families, including ours.
All covered by smiles and jokes.
One sudden and forever unexplained.
One prevented, but one which I could have easily missed simply because I spent so much time hiding behind my smart phone, and avoiding a human connection.
Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, and whatever else there is out there, cannot compete with the power of an intentional connection with another person.
It cannot compete with looking up into the eyes of a grumpy cashier, seeing the hurt behind the angry mask, and offering a simple smile.
It cannot compete with doing something kind, and expecting nothing at all in return.
Who knows whose life could be changed simply by putting down the phone for a while.
So, this is my pledge:
I am going to stop reaching out to Facebook, and use His arms to reach out to love and help others.
I am going to stop checking my email while in line at Starbucks, so I can look up and see what is going on around me. Speak, smile, and make someone feel important. Who knows which one of them may have woken feeling worthless, wondering why they exist, or why they are always ignored.
Instead of pouring my heart into a new status update, I am going to borrow his heart to seek out those that are hurting and discouraged.
I am going to start living outside my iPhone world, so I can spend a little time in the worlds of those around me.