Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Trying to Feel Like a Human

There was a tragic death in my family recently.

And as I sat in the funeral home, surrounded by the people that I love most in the world, I could only think about one thing.

Human relationships are everything.

It's so simple and easy to say.  So obvious.
Something we know to be true.

Humans are relational beings.  A child left alone without human touch becomes physical sick, eventually dying.  Dr. Motagu, a researcher from France, spent his career studying the relationship between human touch and connection.  His book "Touching-The Human Significance of the Skin" chronicles his findings.

Can you imagine the rest of your life with out any kind of human interaction?  Go ahead, take a moment.  I'll wait.

Scary, right?

Yet, maintaining healthy relationships is something I lose sight of daily.  Whether it's the failure to return a phone call, or simply not giving someone my full attention.  More times than not I find myself focusing on me, rather than the people I care about.

But when I was sitting on those hard pews, assessing my own mortality and staring death in the face, those words really engulfed me.  I thought, "this is it.  This is the true meaning of life.  When it comes down to it nothing else really matters."

Not my success.
Not my possessions.
Not the current situation that I'm stressed about right now.

Human relationships are everything.

It's so easy to get caught up in the difficulties of life.
I'm the worst.
Stressed about money.  Stressed about my future.  About what other people think.  About my plans.

But when you strip all those things away, you find yourself surrounded by the people that love you for who you are.  The people that really know you.  The ones that you've shared thousands of meals with. Traveled hundreds of miles to exotic destinations.  Cried.  Laughed.  Argued.  And then laughed some more.

The ones that you could call right now and they would be there in a heartbeat.

The ones that will be standing at your funeral.

Human relationships are everything.

It's humbling.  And fills me with the utmost gratitude when I think about my human relationships.

They are crazy.  Emotional.  Exhilarating.

And like life, they are messy.  Funny, frustrating, and filled with the greatest concern and watchfulness.  The people that I love so dearly, are also the same people that know exactly how to push my buttons.

They aren't afraid to be honest, whether it's about how they really feel, or to tell you that your pants are way to tight.

They are the people that I go to bed at night thinking about, sometimes laying awake for hours.
The ones I yearn to hug, even from a distance.
The ones I enjoy sharing a walk to Starbucks with, or a lunch outside in the beautiful sun.

They are the people that make my life rich.  Filled to the brim.

And whether we are held together by DNA or simply love, the bond runs deep.

Let's change our mindset this week, making our human relationships a priority.  Trading words, or screen time for face-to-face interactions, where we can really pay attention.

Let's do things that make us feel connected.  That make us feel human.

Stripping it all away,


Stephanie said...

So true....

For me, it's often the people I love the most, who get the least amount of time and (positive) attention....

I need to change that!

Stacey said...

so sorry for your loss...

things like that certainly put life into perspective for us don't they.

i too fall into those traps of giving far to much attention to those thing of less importance and then the things of most importance - like my family - get the worst of me after i'm exhausted from taking care of everything else. i'm trying to do better... i see small signs of improvement at least. :)

Hiker Trash said...

Wonderful post made me cry, such sincerity. I have felt these exact feelings very recently just never knew how to put it into words, thank u,

If life were a box of chocolates said...

I thought I was finally ready to blog today. I am not. So I read instead. I'm not sure why I am just seeing this, but I'm glad I ran across it this morning. The picture says it all.

Anonymous said...

That was beartuful and so true...tears are running down my face right now....Reality Check!!!!!!

Amy Russell (Ashley) said...

So true Laura!, This is a very touching post, Yes, Tears running down my cheeks too!!
Thank you for helping us see or better yet reminding us what is most important in life!
-Love You,
(P.S. That is my favorite picture of Linds & Dad!!!! Thank you for That too!!!)

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