The No Contact Zone

I try to keep in touch with the news that comes out of New Zealand, my home country.  This week there was a news article about how an international fast food chain is going to be trialing a kiosk system for ordering meals on-site.  So you rock on in, into the restaurant, stand at a self-service kiosk and order your meal at a computer, then you pick it up from a counter when it is ready.

My ten year old thinks it sounds ‘way cool’.

I’m glad he has an opinion, but I don’t join him in his delight.

Think about it – you can now go throughout a whole day very easily without contact with anyone, should you choose.  We live in an age of internet or phone banking, you can send messages via email to your kids’ schools, you don’t have to leave your home to rent movies, you can have food and drink delivered to your home – or – now order through a kiosk and not have to talk to a soul, at all.

While there is a lot of convenience in all of this, how much good does it really do us? Don’t we need connections with people?  Yes, everyday connections.

How did we get to this point?

About eighteen months ago one of my neighbours dropped in to see me, and dropped on me the bombshell that she and her husband were separating and that all manner of nasty things had been going down.  Suzanne had only been in my house about twice before.  I hardly knew her, yet here she was spilling her guts to me.

I had never before felt so out of my depth.

Here is a lady, at least twenty years my senior and she’s confiding in me, nearly a stranger to her.

After some prodding it soon became quite obvious that she really didn’t have many people in her life to talk to.  No girlfriends.  No mentors. No nothing.

This really shook me, to the core.

How did we get to this point?

Last night I was at a planning meeting for the Mother’s group I am a part of.  We’re re-structuring it and implementing quite a few changes.  One of the things we’re doing is putting ‘table leaders’ in position and part of these ‘table leaders’ jobs is to call their ladies, about six of them in total, once every two weeks.  That’s the minimum requirement.  And would you believe how hard it is to get women to commit to doing this?  To commit to helping build community…..to commit to actually keeping in touch with each other and being a friendly and sincere voice at the end of the phone.  To commit to caring. It’s hard.

How did we get to this point?

I don’t know how we got to this point.  I don’t know why people don’t want to reach each other and be a friendly face.  I don’t know why neighbours don’t know each other.  I don’t know why or when this no contact zone became so popular and accepted.

But I do know this.  And I know it with all my being, that people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

We’ve got to change a few things.  We must be the church with hands, feet and a voice.

It starts with me.  And it starts with you.  The no contact zone has got to go.

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