We recently got a dog. Kind of unexpectedly. She was a rescue my sister in law was looking at adopting as a running partner but this dog is the farthest thing from intimidating and so she knew it would not be a good fit for what she was looking for. We had been talking about bringing a cat into our family for a bit but just hadn’t made the leap yet. We’ve had cats before and animals with kids and what not, but it was not for us when they were so little. We didn’t want to make that same mistake again of bringing a pet in to our home without making it a concrete lifetime commitment.
There is something about this dog though. She is so sweet, mild mannered and great with the kids. At a glance, she is the perfect fit for our family. We have had her almost 2 months and love her more than I thought we would.
I have noticed a big difference between cats and dogs though. Cats need no one. Dogs need to be touched all. the. time. All the time! She craves so much attention and wants to know what is going on. She enjoys and soaks in just a passing glance where eye contact is made or a quick swipe of affection on the back. She wants it all.
She kind of reminds me of my own yearning for human touch and connection. Especially now that the kids are getting older and their little people problems are turning in to bigger, oh my gosh I could totally screw this parenting thing up, problems. Some days, I feel like I am so trapped in motherhood and little people conversations, I can’t wait to get some adult interaction.
I am not alone! I know many moms want face to face connection in their lives. How do I know? Because just about every person to person conversation ends with, ‘It was so nice talking. My husband doesn’t understand like another mom does. We should do this again’. I’ve lost count of how many times similar words have fallen out of my mouth. It’s the human touch. It’s the individualized facial expressions, the compassion you hear in someone’s voice, the shock, the excitement, the laughter.
What does a baby need most when they are born? The one thing that they will scream and cry about until they get? Human touch. The moment you set that baby down, she starts to cry again. She’ll fall asleep great in your arms but don’t you dare set her down! Why haven’t they invented a baby holding machine that can mimic a mother? Because they can’t. It is not possible. There is nothing that will ever hold the warmth of a smile, the refreshing feeling of a good laugh or the healing of a hug, like a human can.
So why do we try and mimic friendship artificially? We have these friends online who are filling in the gaps and from time to time it feels great! We add friends and our count goes up. We might not know them personally, or have a clue what they really look like. This brings on a whole new definition to friend that doesn’t get talked about often. These people are our ‘friends’. We show them our highlight reel and give them a thumbs up when they do something noteworthy and cool. But what happens when you pass a Facebook friend on the street? They suddenly become a distant aquintence.
An article is posted about a mom who is going to lose it and in the hilarity of her words, we can connect and laugh as we relate to everything she is saying. We comment, like and enjoy connecting together over something we have in common. But why is it that I can be friends with you on social media, but I can’t make eye contact with you in passing at a local grocery store?
It reminds me the red kettle bell ringer or the veteran handing out flags in front of the grocery store. Your intentions are good until you are standing face to face with someone ringing the bell. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t make eye contact. Crap they said ‘Hi’. Keep walking. Don’t make eye contact.
What are we so afraid of? That we might enjoy ourselves and brighten someones day with a simple ‘Hi’back? I don’t know about you but I’m going to spend sometime getting a little uncomfortable and connecting to people the best I can. It feels good. It’s how we were designed. People are addicted to likes and artificial friendships because they’ve forgotten that their true worth comes from their actions and reactions.
Proverbs 27:17- Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Just as iron has to physically touch another piece of iron to be truly sharpened so must we. We cannot truly grow in an artificial setting.