The people connection

I’ve been struck lately by the power of words.  Especially coming from people I love.

Words from Friends.
Sorta like Words-With-Friends, only fewer Triple-letter tiles and trash talk.

gifts of the modern age

Thing is… We live in a world that not only  provides us with the beauty and provision of nature, but we also have a history of a people who – over the centuries – have given us art, music, the internet, craft beer, high thread-count sheets, the remote control, G2 pens, Target and mint chocolate chip ice cream.  And yet… with all this richness and so much artistry in the universe… it is still not enough.  We need more.

No, this isn’t going to turn into a lecture about the God-shaped hole in each of us …or me evangelizing to my readers.  No, today, I’m just reveling in the wonder of people and relationships.  Friendship.  Connection.  And verbalizing that connection.

We were built for this.  Regardless of your worldview, most people can recognize the benefit of community.  That we thrive in the company of friends and wither in its absence.

A friend recently described an abusive person as someone who wants to alienate, and a healthy person as someone who seeks out togetherness.

Now, I’m not saying we all need to live in a commune…. um…er… I mean… an “intentional community.”  I’m not going all Yearning-for-Zion on us.  I’m just saying, a la Barbara Streisand… that people NEED people.

And I forget this from time to time.
I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’ve never met someone MORE extroverted than myself – I plan get-togethers and parties like a mongoose chases cobras.  I mean, if you throw around a buttered biscuit, it’s BOUND to land on one of my evites… (holla, Aziz Ansari).  But, with all of that energy expended to be WITH people, I forget how unbelievably powerful a simple encouraging message can be.

This last week I was blessed to have several unexpected moments like this.  Wow moments.  Texts, IM’s and e-mails from friends who took less than a minute (in some cases) to use their words as a gift… and it changed my day.. my demeanor… my very emotional state – for the better.  (If I share this post with you, …you were one of those people).
When people express love (in whatever form that comes in – validation, praise, listening to you vent, encouragement, thanks) – it changes you.  If you’re lucky – it changes you for good, not just for the moment.

None of this is new.  The whole “random acts of kindness” and “pay it forward” movements have been inspiring people for so long.  But it merits reminding.  And having been on the receiving end of several of these moments inspired me to remind you.

Lest you think I’m just surrounded by sweet mushy people, I’ll tell you that two of the sweet messages I received were from introverts who I like to tease about not having/showing emotion (which is ridiculous… they know I don’t really believe that they can’t express emotion, but it’s fun to give them a hard time nonetheless).  This kind of communication does not come as naturally for them… and so… being more unexpected – made the words have that much more impact.  They moved me.  Literally!  (Ok, not literally… I was stationary while I read them, but still…)

Point is – the key to this isn’t being a naturally smooshy person… but simply being an authentic one.

If you love someone – tell him or her!
If you are thankful for someone in your life – let them know.
It’s just an outward verbalizing of what you’re already thinking.
It’s taking your internal honesty and putting words to it… which, if done authentically, may just stop them in their tracks for a moment and cause them to write a cheesy blog post.

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