Recognizing What We’re Losing
Hello Darkness, my old friend.
I’ve come with talk to you again.
More and more often, Simon and Garfunkel’s timeless words enter my world in a way that makes me stand up and take notice. Especially the lines:
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening.
And every time those words circle around in my mind, I look around to see people engrossed in their cell phones instead of the people around them. The prophecy of the song has come to be in ways we didn’t even imagine in the 1960’s when Dick Tracy’s vid-watch was pure fantasy.
Taking the Detour
The other night my daughter and I had tickets to a play at the local Cultural Arts Center. We were looking forward to seeing an actor in the lead role who we’ve enjoyed on many occasions. But the Universe seemed to see things differently.
We stayed overlong at a Turkish Food Festival, putting us in the middle of L.A. traffic coming home. We were an hour late getting to her grandfather-in-law’s house for a promised visit. I didn’t want to hurry the visit as he is an incredible story-teller with a very colorful life; 50 1/2 years of which he spent with his wife who recently passed.
But we needed to eat something before the play and finally left with about 90 minutes to get home, change, eat and get to the theater. When we were almost home, my daughter’s phone rang. It was her grandfather-in-law. It seems I’d left my purse, something I never do!
Accepting the Change of Plans
I changed my clothes and told my daughter to drive as I didn’t have my license. Though she lived in this area for years, learned to drive here and knew every way to get in and out of our town, she missed a critical turn. Yet neither of us even noticed until we’d gone a couple of miles out of our way. By the time we reached the house to retrieve my purse, it was too late to get back for the play, much less dinner so we asked him to join us.
Instead, he fixed us something to eat and we remained for another couple of hours, looking at old pictures and listening to stories of his life with his wife. During that time, neither of us touched our cell phones once.
It was one of the most enjoyable evenings I remember spending in many years. No interruptions, stories of a life lived to the fullest, and a man who was privileged to be on the cutting edge of things we now take for granted.
Taking Time to Listen to Their Stories
I don’t have much contact with the older members of my own family, but I’m sure they, too have stories to tell, if only we would listen. But I will say that the next time I have the opportunity to spend time with someone and listen to their stories, the cell phone will either be turned off or tucked into my purse with the sound silenced. I want to truly listen to the stories they tell; the places they’ve been, the people they’ve met…even the food they’ve eaten.
I will start hearing AND listening right now. That art must not be lost because we’re addicted to our electronics. Those electronics are quite good at holding our messages and calls until we are ready to pick them up. The world won’t stop if we’re unavailable for a few hours. But the stories and the people won’t be there forever. The lessons we might learn are fleeting. Human memories fade or get distracted and thoughts are lost.
And it’s not just the old people who have stories to tell. Let’s give everyone we connect with the gift of our full attention. I know we won’t be sorry we did.
My gratitudes tonight are:
- I am grateful for Universal interference.
- I am grateful for the opportunities which find me.
- I am grateful for the stories people have to tell.
- I am grateful for the “off” button on my phone.
- I am grateful for abundance; love, joy, sharing, stories, opportunities taken, side roads, detours, time well spent, peace, harmony, broken barriers, philanthropy, and prosperity.
I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!
Photo courtesy of Sander van der Wel via Flickr