The importance of PROXIMITY

We have Facebook and MySpace and Email and the Internet and Downloaded Sermons and cell phones and laptops and Blackberries and……. in many ways we are more connected than any other generation. We have information coming out the wahzoo. But, there is something I think we’re missing… a way in which we are not as connected as we think.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

Say for example that my friend has a wedding and I’m invited. And, I decide not to go in person. I agree, instead, to listen in on a cell speakerphone. I watch the cellphone video. I make sure to read the tweats and the postings on Facebook and pictures on flicker. I know what went on, I got all the info. But, let me ask you…. what did I miss out on? What did they miss out on?

Or another example. A friend recently had a stroke. He went to the Emergency Room and was checked in to the Hospital. I could have communicated my concern and love by texting him and his family. I could have replied to the email I received. Or better still, I could have called. But, if that were all I did, what would I have missed out on? What would they have missed out on?

Proximity.

For my friend with the stroke, I was there to see the look in my friend’s face. I was there to touch his hand and hug his wife. I was there cracking jokes, making random conversation, telling stories, lightening things up. I was there to have my wife poke me, her indication that my story is getting a little too long. I was there to lay my hands on my friend’s shoulder and pray for healing and comfort and God’s intervention. I was there = Proximity.

Even when we have nothing valuable to say… even when we don’t have the answers… when we can’t change the circumstances… there is something we can be — there. Please don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with all these other ways to stay connected. But, my point is there is no substitute for proximity, for being there. Standing face-to-face… sitting side-by-side… holding a hand… crying on a shoulder… laughing outloud… we should never underestimate the value and power of these things.

So, proximity. Are you already there? If not, in what ways would your life look different if this were your new mindset?

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2 thoughts on “The importance of PROXIMITY

  1. I’m reading a book that got me thinking about another aspect of “Proximity” and how it affects our relationships. I read about two studies that were conducted… they found that people generally pick friends that are similar to them (e.g., age, race, socio-economics, etc.) But, what the researchers found was that these factors become less important than proximity. “Proximity overpowered similarity.”

    In the second study they questioned people about the friendships they make. People generally think they are friends with others because of shared/similar attitudes. What the study revealed, however, is that they actually didn’t make friends for these reasons as much as they shared similar “activities”. “We’re friends”, says Malcolm Gladwell, “with the people we do things with… we don’t seek out friends. We associate with people who occupy the same small physical spaces that we do.”

    This is a very intersting thought. Proximity is truely more important in our lives than we realize. It shapes not only our friendships, but even who we view & value as friends.

    Mark

    Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — Heb 10:25

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