It’s strange that we live in an age where we are all “connected” via the internet, i-phones, and a host of other technologies, yet people are constantly telling me how alone they feel, how “disconnected” they feel. Information is always at our fingertips. People tweet about everything from hang nails to hangings, but rather than giving us a feeling of closeness and depth, we are left feeling shallow and insignificant, lost in a multitude of voices shouting to be heard.
So why do people feel so alone in an age when we are never alone? I have only my opinion, for whatever that’s worth, to offer. I believe it is due to several reasons, one of them being that Western society lacks a sense of ‘community’ and a sense that comes from being ‘a part of a people’, a tribe, a clan. It is a society that is often focused on self-absorption and idolization. For all of our tweeting and facebooking and i-phones and smart phones and laptops, we still do not honestly communicate. We don’t touch each other where it really counts, in our spirits. We do not “life touch”. We may elicit emotional outbursts and responses, but so does Jerry Springer! It’s not the same thing.
Life-touching takes time. It takes patience. It takes a willingness to give of ourselves, asking nothing in return. Life-touching is what happens when a mom spends the afternoon dipping tadpoles out of a pond and helping her children construct an environment. It’s what happens when a man takes a day off work and teaches his son to bait a fish hook. If you see a family making tamales together, and telling stories while they work, you’re seeing life-touching in action. Life-touching involves grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.Americahas become a land of nuclear families and as a result, it’s become a land of lonely and disconnected people who lack a clear identity and personal relations. To be disconnected from our ancestors is to be lost in a sea of nameless faces. I know of people who can’t even tell you the names of their grandparents, much less tell you the stories of their families. All they have is what has been gained in one generation and when that generation is gone, there will be little or no legacy to pass on and thus, there will be a new generation of disconnected people. Disconnection leads to psychological breakdown, a host of abnormal social behaviors, as well as an absence of responsibility, morality, respect, honesty and trust.
It’s never too late to start life-touching. We are not just here for ourselves. We do not live unto ourselves and we do not die unto ourselves. Whatever we do affects someone else. We are constantly either drawing someone closer and helping them feel connected or else we are reinforcing the predominant attitude of mechanical society that makes us feel like we are insignificant. The world is filled with cynical and critical people, with people who belittle and intimidate, with violent people and rude people, with arrogant people and snooty people. I’m not here to be one of those, because I don’t think this world needs anymore of them. I want to be a life-toucher, a hope-bringer. I want to leave behind a legacy of heritage and love, the greatest force on earth.