We’re so busy we don’t have time for each other. Oh, we carve out moments here and there, but we must be quick because we have a slew of other matters waiting for our all-important attention. We quickly listen to each other, but we don’t hear. We lob information to the other that is never received. It’s not enough to be in the same place at the same time – we have to be present for each other.
My pastor tossed out a phrase in a recent sermon that has stuck with me: Behold Me Busy. Wow – what an elevated status! I think sometimes, in our heads, the words ‘busy’ and ‘important’ are interchangeable. The pastor was referring to how we go through life not truly connecting with others. It made me think about how we go through our own homes the same way – passing by our mates in a state of busy-ness that is a barrier to our being present for the other.
How many conversations do we start with: “I only have a minute but . . . ?” Which could be interpreted as: “How fortunate you are that I am fitting you into my busy schedule to convey this very important message.” (Behold Me Busy!) You have put them on notice that there is only time for a short conversation and you need to go first in case time runs out. They can respond later when you have another minute. Or, they can call you on your cell phone – and leave a message at the sound of the beep
To be present for the other means to be deliberate in our communication. Texting while watching a show together, ‘pinning’ while sharing ice cream, chatting on the phone while shopping together all send your mate the message (to use a tired expression) ‘you’re just not that into me.’
So in those precious moments you have together, put down the phone, turn off the computer, and ignore – just during this limited shared time – the text alerts. Being deliberately present during your interactions may not increase your time together, but it will enhance it.
Have an idea on how to be more present when you are with your mate? Please share it in the comment section below.
ON A DIFFERENT TOPIC, I had the pleasure of being a guest on Brandi Barnett’s blog for her summer-salad roundup. Because time is such a treasured commodity, my tasty blast-from-the-past dish has only 4 ingredients and whips up so fast it’ll be made before you can utter “Behold Me Busy!” Click here to check it out.
I love this, Shel! A co-worker and I were just talking about this. It seems even worse with the younger generation, but adults are just as guilty. I cringe when a friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time says, “Sorry I haven’t called, but I’ve been so busy.” Everyone is busy and everyone has 24 hours in a day; it’s all about priorities and who/what is important. I would have loved to hear that sermon.
It was a good one! And I agree with you about the lame excuses. A similar pet peeve: when you invite someone to do something and you get a litany of every task they have on their agenda when a simple “love to but can’t” or “I have a conflict” (which wouldn’t effectively demonstrate their busy-ness) would do! Hmm, a compilation of busy-ness pet peeves? Could be a public service!
great sermon needed by all…we need to look into each other’s eyes and truly connect…
So true, Lin – something about eye contact makes the connection more meaningful. Thanks for you visit!
So I guess my husband playing games on the computer and me in the recliner surfing the web on my phone while watching a movie isn’t really being together. I guess we need to work on that. Ok, message received.
Whew – I was afraid I might have been too subtle! You might want to ease into the transition with baby steps – maybe start with a 22 minute sitcom and work your way up to a movie! It was nice to hear from you, Vickey – have a great weekend!
That Covey quote is so true. Just the other day I was trying to remember a lady’s name. It dawned on me I couldn’t remember it because I hadn’t really listened to it in the first place! Something I need to work on at home and everyplace else.
You and me both, Dee Dee!
For me, too – it was one of those moments when you swear the pastor is directing the whole sermon right at you (as Natine said, ‘behold me guilty!’)! I appreciate you stopping by, Laura!
I feel like Shel has been a fly on the wall at my house!! Your article will definitely make me more aware of how my spouse must feel when I am surfing the web while watching TV together. Maybe not such a good idea.
I was talking to us both, my friend!!
Such a valid point, Shel. My husband and I now work together, split time caring for the kids, etc. Whether at home or work, we spend more time talking AT each other than TO each other. I say that stops now. I’m going to propose we spend at least ten minutes of no screen time after the kids go to bed just to share our day. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but that’s huge.
I think 10 minutes IS huge – it’s about 9 1/2 more minutes than many take to connect! I suspect it will be a very enjoyable 10 minutes!
It helps to set an appointment–agree to be finished with other tasks by a certain time so we can talk. I do this as a mom, too.
That’s a great plan, Maria – the phone reminder that it’s appointment time can be the same reminder to turn it off!
Behold me guilty!! I like this one, Shel. Definitely can be applied to myself. Here’s a relevant quote from Stephen R. Covey: Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply.
More self-improvement work to be done!
That sure is a truism! Thanks for passing it on – and we can work on that never-ending self-improvement task together!
Ooh, that’s a good quote. And Shel, thanks for the reminder to be present!
I agree about the quote. And speaking of ‘present,’ Sonia, so nice to have you back in the U.S. – looking forward to catching up with you!