My husband and I drove by a couple of teenagers holding signs advertising a bake sale. Neither of us could read the signs from our car, and we continued on our way to the gas station less than a hundred yards away. I reached for my phone, thinking I’d look on the internet to see what the bake sale supported; if we wanted to purchase something to help the cause, we could turn around. Before I even opened the browser, I realized how silly my thought was. I didn’t have much, if any, information that would result in an accurate search. Even more laughable to me, I could just walk over to the booth to see for myself, interacting with the live humans at the table.
Earlier that week, I was home with my daughter all day, and we took a walk to the playground. On the way, we passed a lady walking her dog. I said hello, but she made no eye contact and kept walking. At the playground, a fellow mom and her son went by on the other side; I waved, but again, no eye contact was made and they continued on. My extroverted self was disappointed that I wasn’t able to engage with these women, even if we were only to exchange a few words and a smile.
These two instances emphasize the need for human connection. Authentic, in-person connection. There are many instances in which I could choose my phone to get information rather than asking another person. Something as simple as a bake sale could be an opportunity to share a smile, a word and Christ’s love merely by His presence in us and our presence to others.
When I need a recipe, I could choose to first pull up Pinterest, or I could call my mom and honor her by asking for her recipe. It might be more comfortable to pull in my driveway and hurry into my home, but taking time to talk to my neighbor outside is a great way to build community and be more like Jesus. “The Grace of Enough” by Haley Stewart (a book I highly recommend) points out the longing that humans have for authentic connection and shares more experiences and ideas. I’m challenging myself to continue to get to know others in an authentic way; I invite you to do the same.
Kaitlin Klein is a 2014 graduate of the University of Evansville. She is a music therapist at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Her home parish is St. Ferdinand in Ferdinand.