There is nothing more soul-fulfilling than a friend.
I met a dear friend for an evening out recently. He and I have been in touch over digital airwaves, yet the inadequacy of social media technology was fully exposed within the first few minutes of seeing each other in person.
I felt a rush of human-ness flood over me. Unlike social media chats, the conversation had a heartfelt rhythm to it, possible only with intentional listening and empathy. We ebbed and flowed, hitting the high notes of a witty joke to the rich depths of emotional angst. Nodding in encouragement at some points, holding still at others to absorb, I felt a partnership in the thoughts I was expressing even as I tried to articulate them. I was literally seen, being physically in his line of sight, and I also felt metaphorically seen.
There is something irreplaceable about sharing physical space with another human being. At the most primal level, I feel acknowledged, like my existence is registered and that I matter. Non-verbal signals fill the air, enriching it and affecting me in all kinds of ways.
Hi-tech solutions are nice, they have a place in the world. But, they do not replace old-fashioned real interactions. In fact, they cannot, because two humans engaging with each other will always be so much more than time-lagged smiley emojis, inert postings of photos, and vacuous “good morning” memes.
I know it’s a busy world and nobody has time anymore. It’s why we are more connected and more lonely than ever before. But, it is the making of time and the allowing of space for wholesome, holistic conversations that feeds the soul.
I feel rejuvenated from an evening spent with a friend. I feel like a human again.