Have we lost touch?
A day or two ago I was out picking up some groceries. Standing at the back of my car, trunk open, I noticed an elderly lady messing with her car. She appeared confounded, trying to figure out the key fob for her car. “Was it locking the doors? Am I doing it right?” She was standing there with the door open and it looked like she was pushing the button on her fob and trying to see if the doors locked or not.
I moved another load from buggy to trunk and was about to go ask her if she needed help. When I looked up again, she was heading towards me, door closed and walking (as best she could) with purpose. As she came by my car, I smiled at her and asked if she was enjoying the lovely weather. After repeating myself once or twice, she smiled again and said “oh yes. A little cool, but it’s wonderful.” We gave parting smiles and she was off again, heading for the store. Having enjoyed the brief but friendly connection, I went back to using the two cranes attached to my shoulders to hoist bags of stuff from buggy to trunk.
A moment later, another elderly lady started her voyage past me sailing her now empty buggy on past my car. Having finished unloading her cart, she was successfully navigating it back to the buggies next port of call, the local buggy rest stop, right there in the parking lot. As she passed by, a few feet from my car, I heard a familiar voice pipe up and say “here, I’ll take that” and then a moment later, hand reaching for the cart, “you look familiar, I think I know you from somewhere” It was the key fob lady, and she was connecting again. As my cranes slowed down, my head continued to swivel their direction and I became engrossed in their exchange. As they talk like old friends, bright eyes smiling along with their voices and faces, they couldn’t figure out where their paths crossed… but I did.
Their paths crossed right there in that ocean of a parking lot. Not just in the physical crossing, but in the type of people they are inside. They were both open, loving people who weren’t afraid to step out of their shell, and say HI! Not afraid of being wrong in whether or not they knew each other. The clincher for me and the reason I titled this “are we losing touch” was that they didn’t just talk with their words and faces, they talked in their touch. While they were still trying to figure out if they knew each other, key fob lady reached up to sailor Sue and began fixing the collar of her light jacket. No one paused, sailor Sue didn’t step back, it was the most natural thing for Ms. Key Fob to do.
I’ve always loved touch. Both giving and receiving it. It’s another level of connection and I wonder if it’s dying out in our time. These two representing an older generation, without thought for their actions, connected on a more caring, loving level by the action of one reaching out to fix the collar of the other. While I’m not suggesting you run out and start touching every stranger you meet, I am suggesting that you keep touch in mind, especially when interacting with your family, loved ones etc. While touch can enhance the words being spoken, touch alone can sometimes say more than words.
So come on, get up and go give someone a hug… don’t even say anything, just hug as long as it feels right.
Release, turn around and walk away. See what happens!
The more comfortable we get with touch in our strong, trusting relationships, the more likely we’ll be to spread it to others we get to know. Eventually, we may smile when we find ourselves straightening the collar of someone we feel we know but are actually just meeting for the first time as our ships cross paths in this sea of humanity.
Peace (and hugs )
Stephen Kellogg – 2010