By Erika Rizkallah
Yesterday I had lunch with Kathy, a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. As we settled into our seats at Panera, a woman rushed up to us.
“I saw you sitting here and I just had to pop over and say hello,” she gushed. “You’re a hard woman to get in touch with, always so busy.”
Emily introduced herself to me and apologized for interrupting our conversation. I didn’t mind. Kathy runs a successful children’s theatre program and though we both moved to town at the same time, it seems like she knows everyone.
Emily asked several questions about the program and Kathy directed her to the website to get the information she needed. Kathy said, “It’s all on my Facebook page. We just updated it.” Then the discussion turned to social media and they talked and talked.
I said, “I’m hardly ever on social media so I’ll have to check out the page too.”
“Oh, you’re lucky,” Emily said. “It’s better to stay away from it or you can get sucked in.”
I explained that I needed to be on it more – though I don’t like to – because if I’m not, the world passes you by; people rarely reach out to me. We share so much through platforms and devices now, I’ve become disconnected. My nephew broke his arm last month and I didn’t know because I wasn’t on Facebook.
Before she left Emily said, “It’s nice to meet you.” I thought she was talking to me but it quickly became apparent she’d never met Kathy in person — she’d only “seen” her online.
Her words, “You’re lucky” made me pause. Luck has nothing to do with it, intentionality does.
It reminds me of a passage in Mark 3. Jesus has just pissed off the Pharisees after healing a man on the Sabbath, against their religious law. He withdrew to the lake and large crowds followed him.
Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. Mark 3:9
Though needed and followed by the masses, Jesus deliberately withdrew. He kept his distance, not allowing the crowd to press into him. We often see him withdrawing to quiet places and spending time with God in solitude. We often see him getting into a boat.
Like Jesus, we too need to get away from the crowds for a time, even if they’re virtual. Then we come back better grounded in reality and stronger.
Is the world pressing in on you? Do you need to spend more face time with your friends and take a break from a demanding crowd?
It’s ok to give yourself permission and press the “off” button for as long as you need.
Just tell them you have a boat ready and a date with the friend who loves you the most!