The Humanity Factor

Lately I find myself making connections with people all over the place and sometimes where I least expect it. Today I was getting a flurry of 4:55 pm phone calls on the Friday before a long holiday weekend. Awesome. This lady called me back while I was on the phone with someone else- so I call her back (she wanted a frantic last minute appointment so I figured I had to). She explains why she missed my call earlier today, she and a friend were out shopping for plants for the garden. “Oh that’s on my list for this weekend…” It’s like opening the door folks, next thing I know we’re comparing notes on our new to us houses, both with large neglected yards. We talk soil types. Where the tomatoes might go. The weeds everywhere. Overgrown unkempt yards. And you realize, we humans are hungry for connection. Eventually we got to the specifics of the business transaction and I had to go abruptly to answer another call, but I hung up delighted at the humanity we shared in that 10 minute exchange. 

After Mass this evening I went to pick up a cabinet I bought on craigslist. Linda invites me in and starts telling me that they are in the process of moving in. They have 5 huskies and bought this house for the dogs because there is a whole dog room (which the cabinet I purchased was in). Next thing you know, she is happily telling me the entire history of this particular cabinet (which is currently painted an awful bronze but has really good bones). She bought her first house at 21 and bought this cabinet from an antique store in Depot town. In the 15 minutes it took to empty the cabinet and move it to the car, I learned a lot about this nice lady. We talked dogs, fences, new (old) houses, big yards, painting furniture, and landscaping. As I drove away, once again I was struck with the beauty and joy of human connection. We humans crave connection and relationship. In a world where often everyone is so busy staring at the smart phones and forgetting how to even relate in person, we crave one another. We want to tell our stories and we want to be truly heard.
Sometimes I struggle to find things to connect on with some of the people closest to me. Sometimes we just don’t have much in common. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have the patience to act interested in yet another poopy diaper or the obsession with getting enough sleep. I do care, but sometimes I just wonder when our conversations became so trivial. And I am usually convicted in my selfishness that I am here to love, to listen, to connect and if the only material to discuss right now is someone’s bodily functions, I can get on board. I often feel that no one understands me or actually wants to know what is going on with me, and honestly it can get really frustrating and isolating. And then I realize that sometimes we all just forget how to relate. We’re in our own bubble and wrapped up in our own lives and we forget how to listen because we’re frantic to be heard  
I am convinced if we each spent more time trying to make a connection rather than just talking about ourselves, we could transform the world. Each one of us is called very particularly to be the love of Christ, which sometimes means just listening, connecting, and sharing our human experience. 
Today’s gospel reading sums it up perfectly. “This I command you: Love one another.” John 15:17
So today I am thankful for so many beautiful and sometimes completely unexpected encounters with fellow humans and the beauty to be found in each one. 

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