This article is found in Positive Tribe Magazine, Mar 2021 edition. For your free copy, click here!

Sitting here on a Sunday morning, at home and in front of the computer, I realized that it has been almost a year since I have attended church IN PERSON. This past year has gone so fast in so many ways and so slow in many others yet the fact that we have not seen friends and acquaintances in person for so long is a shame and in my life, it is taking a toll.
How? For one thing I have almost completely changed the way I shop! I never was a mall shopper or one who liked to stroll down the aisles of a department store looking for something new and pretty to wear. I knew my size and I had a couple of “go to” stores I could run in to or better yet, shop on their online stores, so the move to ONLY online shopping was not too far a stretch for me!

However, going to the grocery store or Target for food or a small gadget has completely changed and and are my weekly (sometimes daily!) “go to” stores. I received a grocery delivery the other night and my husband started to laugh and asked “since WHEN do you have catsup delivered to the house? ““Well, since I have been staying close to home and limiting my exposure to others this past year! I am even saving money despite the delivery charges because I am not walking up and down the aisles and impulse buying! “and he seemed to buy off on that explanation!

Home Delivery!

Yet, with online shopping and delivery I miss talking with the “young guys” at the checkout – you know those eighty-year-old, retired military men who wanted to do something to get out of the house – ha-ha…I bet their wives thought the same thing! I thoroughly enjoyed talking to them about my military days and about my sons’ flying these days. Just talking about the boys sparked a connection that brought huge smiles to us all and memories of “the good ole’ days!”

Group connections are hard to describe unless you belong to the group – think about your school days and a special class. Or think about sorority/fraternity days in college. How about a church group or a book club? There are many ways to connect in a group, but I am finding that a “ZOOM” connection, although convenient and certainly better than nothing, is not the same as an in-person connection.

I read recently that social connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and can improve our immune systems. Well said! Connection sounds like a recipe for success so what are we to do RIGHT NOW to connect with someone who NEEDS to hear from us? How can we brighten their day and lift their load in some way?

Well, I just heard from a close friend and she sounded STRESSED and OVERWHELMED. We all have those days but the single, working moms with young children can feel as if the 2-ton gorilla has landed on them and there is no light anywhere…add that to being physically separated from family and BOOM…Loneliness and depression set in and King Kong does not swoop in to save her. BUT a call to Olive Garden and available delivery service hit the spot and our connection was instantly strengthened. I can just imagine the smiles and the anticipation for 5:00 pm tomorrow night!
It is the simple things…the thoughtful things that we learn about when we purposefully and intently LISTEN to our friends and family. There are times when I am distracted and a call comes in and although I WANT to be there for the caller, I am just BUSY. But am I really? Is “busyness” rather than business keeping me distant and unconnected?

Today is what I want to call “Pay It Forward to Connect” day. Reach out to that one person your spirit is prompting you to reach out to. Do more than text…pick up the phone and TALK. If for some reason she/he does not answer, leave a message! Then sit and write a quick note and send it – snail mail – and think of the smile on your friend when the mail is delivered. I LOVE the calls from my grandkids – “Grandma…the box is HERE!” I LOVE the call from my mom when she opens an envelope from her great-grandkids, and she has received a crayon picture to hang on the refrigerator!

It is the SIMPLE things…the thoughtful things that mean the world.

Pay It Forward today and start a tsunami of smiles around the globe!

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