I used to tell people my heart was with them and really mean it. I’d spend time, intentionally, making a prayer, making a card, a daisy chain, looping my hear’s-cry and their earnest desire. Now? Now it is a dash of thought as quick as sprinkling salt on a plate of potatoes. It’s a throw, a clicked-out reply on Facebook; I’m sick of it.
Really, I miss the integrity, the depth of time spent in quiet-tude, sometimes an hour or hours long. Such was my passion in meeting with G-d, in speaking out psalms and meditations. And the deluge of love. My, I’d sometimes make my voice hoarse and husky from such time spent with such passion towards G-d and so many people. Kids I’d be teaching, parents in trouble, the latest international need or devastation. Any pregnant friend, anyone seeking wisdom, a job, steering in her life; no need was insignificant. I was lit. Moving home? Father sick? I’d head straight to the King and very often, expect some kind of contextual, tangible followup. There’d be a blueprint already, called investment.
And now? Seems my responses to honest and urgent needs are merely cursory. It is the sign of a hasty, impatient generation, or all of us, across ages, so accustomed to the snapchats of social media. All of us with good intentions, responding to the rising toll of dead families in Kathmandu, but then blinking past muffins, through organizational ideas and spotlighted homes, a virtual gallery of kids’ crafts, celeb-interviews, and even a board on Pinterest for trending summer shorts and ways to braid hair.
It’s all so much, because where does that leave our friend who needs an extra line of reassurance as she prepares for the waves of labor? Where does that put Nepal and our care for the medics arriving on the ground to very quickly try and try and try to recover the living and patch them up, somehow? How does my lack of real care, real passion for the lost and missing and fearing and dying and crushed stack-up against all the pretty visuals of succulents and flashy ways to make breakfast more stimulating and “Pinnable”? Who am I as a friend?
I know we can’t make a dent in much of what goes on in the world, much less our own lives, it can feel. The news is hopeless. My heart can’t take another shooting or terrorist attack on students, Christians, Arabs, or Jews. I cannot stomach hearing of another child abused. But if I tell someone I’m thinking of them, let me do better. Let me know that I silenced all of the voices of media and fashion and perfect-mothering-teaching-baking-shopping-recipe-planning-laundering-E! mentioning-Bruce-Jenner-gabbing-every-celeb-&-their-kid-whatever…let me get clear so I can hear the sound of change I can affect, if only by being still and asking, agreeing with the very King of the Universe, the One who founded life and change, forgiveness, and strength.
At the very least, even if these habits of prayer and listening and all don’t amount to much, at least let me know I am a friend. I will not be distracted from the urgency of need, won’t be so easily fooled, dormant, or disengaged. Or worse–I won’t scroll past a picture of hurting students in Kenya and think I’m onto something good simply because I clicked “like” and felt something akin to “bad” or “sad” for a sec. I, we, are called, to move big. To give our time and energy, our resources, big. I want more of this kind of engagement in the world, wanna be more with the movers and shakers of supplying, sharing, and standing in concordance. So long, stagnancy and false promises. From now on, I align myself with tenacity and emotion that gets stuff done. I’ll be a friend to the hurting, or at least plan towards that specific end.
I’ve also got my daughter on the job. So that’s good, right? We discuss who’s hurting or doing well or even visiting this Friday, and she’s already half-way out of her breakfast seat and running for lead and paper. She makes the card, a new drawing special, just for them. And after dinner, too, while I’m picking up scattered rice bits and dribbles of juice, she’s creating evidence of caring for these friends. She means every scratch, every mark, and word.
Whatever it is, do it in love. Whatever it is, feel it, and make some good spring out of it, joining love with the words, “hope”, “love”, “decency”. Let my attention span find a quiet and hold.
5 thoughts on “Out With the Old Love: A Study on Response”
And that right there is how you know your true friends!
My mother passed away last Tuesday, and although it wasn’t a complete shock it still hurts. I have over 100 responses about how I am in everyone thoughts and prayers but out of every one only 3 people actually have attempted to contact me outside of that facebook post. Those 3 people have offered to watch my son so I could cry alone or do what I need to and also sent flowers and cards showing how much they are concerned about me.
In this day and age FB just seems so far removed from what we used to be like. We all update out status and virtually reach out to people rather then actually reaching out. 😦
Hi Dina, I am grateful for your response.
(Pause and a deep deep breath and a sigh).
I am deeply sorry for your loss. You must miss your Mother terribly and boy, it must be tough. I am glad to of hear of your faithful three that have stepped-up. Yes, true friends! May you continue to experience their love, and beyond all you need.
I guess those fb updates can serve as a good, simple prompting to do more. I’ll take that lesson home with me and see who I can help and be present with, more and more. Thanks for the thoughtful, note, Dina. Blessings to you!
Thank you so much for your sincere words. I’m really thankfully for those beautiful people that are actually in my life.
“From now on, I align myself with tenacity and emotion that gets stuff done.” Thank you for so beautifully articulating what I think many feel but can’t explain.
Kara, thanks for reading and then even posting your kind note! This blogging thing is pretty fabulous for connecting all of us. Yes, I want to be tenacious in love. A go-getter of the things that matter. My new word.