your words mean more to me when i get to see you speak them

attention, people of the internet; let’s do REALTALK for a moment or two here, okay? pour yourself a drink, settle in for a little bit, and stay with me here. i may not know much about some things, but i’ve learned a lot about knowing people, and something tells me i’m not the only one who’s been feeling this way lately.
i’m weary, y’all. weary of these false connections forged over computers, of the tapping of fingers on a keyboard, of likes + comments + notifications, of reading between the lines and flickering phone screens.

i want more. i want relationships again. i want heart-and-soul connection, ones that are tangible, ones with skin on; i want what’s deep and real and rich and true. i want to memorize the way your hands cradle a cup of hot coffee or the way your lips curve as you spill out your stories and life-lessons in a torrent of emotion and weighty words. i want to see the fire in your eyes, to encounter the God that lives in you. i want your laughter, your tears; i want to create a safe space for you in which we can talk and share and feel and be changed, somehow. i want to hear your heart in full sentences and honest conversation, in inflection and the way we sometimes stumble over the words. i want to listen and be listened to; i want you to walk away and know you were heard. i want us to understand that time is valuable, but so is relationship; and i want us, like Mary, to choose the better thing that it may not be taken from us. i’m so sick of fraudulent emoticons that try and make themselves a substitute for emotional expression, and i’m tired of computer screens and vague facebook posts, of mass emails and group texts and trying to update those who actually care about your life in 140-characters or less. puh-lease. ain’t nobody got time for that, and life is just too. dang. short.

what happened to being a person and not a user name?
what happened to seeking as much as we’re saying, to listening as much as we’re answering?
what happened?

somewhere along the way, i think we got a little lost, or the lines got a bit crossed, and we forgot that there are real, live, actual people on the other side of that screen; people with voices and feelings and stories and struggles, people who want to know and be known and be loved for it anyway.
Image                                            [Photo by Rachael Shapiro, Creative Commons]

the irony of me typing up this blog post on my macbook while i sit solo in a coffee shop filled with people is not lost on me, and i’m the first to admit that technology and online-living in this modern age can be an incredible communication tool. as someone who has many long-distance friendships, sites like facebook and twitter allow me to stay connected, in a way, even to those who are so far from me. and i’m sure many of you can relate.

but even so, there are still times when we need to take a few steps back and get outside in the sunshine, to breathe deep and breathe heavy, to fill our space and time and senses with those who are right-here and right-now, who need us and ache to connect just as we do. we’re all in this thing together, after all, each of us stumbling our way through this crazy-beautiful, messy-glorious thing we call life.

so do yourself a favor and shut down for a little while–shut down and shut off. unplug and reach out. say what you want to say, but say it face-to-face. seek ways to create community, intentionally, through honesty and emotion and one heart to another. catch up over coffee and not a computer screen. be a person, a person who loves people, and watch as you set the world on fire.

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