I’m realizing it now more than ever, as I sit here alone drinking my green tea with my dog at my side, we are all feeling lonely. We need each other. We are caught up in the humdrum of life and are neglecting the more important pieces- relationships, conversations, lingering. We need to be more intentional. I have learned how to do this over time. I used to wait, depressed, by the phone, for someone to think of me and call me and ask me to come over or go out with them. How sad! I had really, really negative thinking back then. I’d think, “No one likes me, I’m all alone, I have no friends.” Well guess what, Old Amy, that’s not true! The truth is that you don’t pick up the phone, you put in little effort knowing where your friends are at in life, you are not very thoughtful, and you don’t initiate get togethers. Sometimes I can still fall back into the pattern of not calling, isolating, waiting for you. It can get dark sometimes. Am I the only one that feels this way, I often wonder. But then, I’ll pick up the phone with the last ounce of pep I have left in me and call one person. They don’t answer, I leave a happy message that has nothing to do with me. It will be about them. I miss them, I hope they are doing well, I was thinking about them, I wonder how their job, relationship, school, hobby, career are all going, hope to talk to them soon! The bible says we need to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. I have become quick to listen today. When I go to an AA meeting expecting people to focus on me and ask me how I am doing and give me all their love- I will probably be disappointed. The world does not revolve around me. When I go to an AA meeting with the intention of loving every person that comes across my path, then I feel like I am getting my needs met. You get what you put out. Love your neighbor as yourself. That means, think about what you need and want and then go and do that for someone else. Let’s try a real time experiment. What do I want right now? I want someone to call me so that I can feel connected to another human being and not feel so lonely, and I want someone to send me a text message saying that they hope I have a great day today. Now I am going to pause writing this article to do those two things to prove my point. Remember, I am feeling somewhat lonely and disconnected right now, here at home, alone with my dog. Scratch that, my dog has just jumped off the couch, abandoning me and so now I am left lonely with the warm lap top on my lap. Here goes, phone call number one, it’s ringing, I’m calling my friend Sarah. I called her a couple days ago and she hasn’t called me back since then, but who cares. Who made up the rule that you can’t call twice? That took thirty three seconds. Now when she wakes up she’ll have a happy voicemail to start her day- who doesn’t want that? I know I would…and that’s my point. I get an even better feeling giving the love and energy away than I do receiving it. The moment I need love is the moment I need to start loving people. Ok she didn’t answer, so what? Moving on, the other thing I wanted was a text. Therefore, I need to send one! Here we go, hey ang! Just thinking about you! Are you free to chat this morning? I genuinely want to know how she is doing. If she is or isn’t free – that isn’t the point. The point is, I feel connected to two people now. Ok, now maybe I feel like I wish my mom would send me an email. Well I could wait feeling lonely until she does, or I could send her one right now and get the love chain going. Here goes… Wow that felt really good. I just told her I miss her and I can’t wait to see her in a couple of weeks. Now, I have just simulated connection and communication and I haven’t actually talked to anyone. I feel like I have added logs to the fire burning inside my stomach where love lives. When I put effort into loving people, I feel loving and loved in return no matter what they do- if they respond or not. More often than not, these people in my life will respond because that is what is socially acceptable to do. I can’t control when or how, but at some point, I will get a phone call, a text and an email and then my love will have boomeranged right back to me.
Literally two minutes after I finished writing this, I checked my email and my mom had written me saying we must have thought of each other at the same time. I think that is God. I think God places people on our hearts and minds and it is up to us to make the effort to reach out and love them. And it does take effort, it is sacrificial in that we have to put ourselves aside for the moment to focus on them and their needs. Isn’t it nice to connect? Isn’t it nice to know that our mom’s love us and our friends think of us? We don’t need to wait for them to tell us that, we can get the ball rolling by making the first move. Just try it for the week. Whenever you think of someone, send them a text, email or make the extra effort and call them- I promise that you will feel filled as a result.