Can You Name Five?

Time once was when our homes and offices buzzed with loud laughter. As family members and coworkers, we interacted with each other in houses and hallways . . .

Laughing
(Image from Unsplash)
  • By the water cooler
  • In the kitchen
  • At the fireplace
  • Sitting on front porches
  • In a plaza.

Ideas were shared, and gestures were freely expressed. Feelings of affirmation were punctuated through smiles and handshakes. Hugs, frequent touches, and arms around each other’s shoulders were commonplace.

No longer.

Today, walk into most office areas and you’d think you are entering the local public library! Instead of noses in books, each person is glued to his or her own personal computer or staring at a handheld phone and writing with thumbs . . . and never looking up.

In days gone by, we’d jog with a good friend several days a week and stay caught up. We’d visit with a neighbor while working in the yard.

We’d get acquainted with the stranger in the next seat on the plane. Not now. The ever-present headset connected to one’s own iPod, communicates in clear terms,

Don’t talk to or interrupt me—I have 3,500 songs I’ve downloaded that I need to listen to!

Eye contact is a thing of the past.

Yesterday, we knew numerous people—deeply. Today, we’re hard-pressed to know what anyone is struggling with or who might be facing a life-and-death issue.

Most of us could not call the first names of someone else’s kids. Yesterday, we would chatter with close friends. Today, we “Tweet” with them. Isn’t it strange?

We’re more in touch with some acquaintance on Facebook or a high-school grad from yesteryear living across the country than the person occupying the next office or that lady who lives two doors down.

The Lone Ranger, once a fantasy hero, is now our model—mask and all. (With emphasis on the word, Lone.)

Our computer files are filled with multiple columns of names—called our “contact list.”

But truth be told, some of us would be embarrassed to admit that if we really needed a “close companion” (I mean, someone who would come and be with us without ever asking why), we would find it difficult to name even five people in that category.

Can you name five?

Don’t you occasionally wonder who the eight will be who will carry your coffin? And one final question: will their grief over your loss cause them to sit through the entire memorial service without once checking their mobile phone?

—Chuck

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Rick Stonestreet

    Excellent thoughts Chuck. As always, you are very practical and cut to the heart of the matter. Thanks for the reminder.
    Rick

  • Douglas Fagan

    Just this morning on my way to work the Lord was telling me to slow down and simplify so I have more energy to do his work. Pastor Chuck, this article reminds me to take time to personally talk to folks and see how they are doing, and to allow them to see how I am doing.
    Doug

  • I can’t even name one!

  • Pierre Franco

    Dear Pastor Chuck,
    About a week ago my wife and I were having dinner at a restaurant. What we observed was shocking. Couples sitting at their table looking down at their cell phones; friends sitting next to each other oblivious to the waiter serving their meals; all too busy with texting or browsing the web perhaps on a social networking site.
    Gone are the days of uninterrupted time with loved ones, with special friends. It is far too easy for someone like me, 28 year old guy, to get sucked in to that type of lifestyle. Thankfully, I have a lovely bride and two young boys who keep me engaged. Work, school, and church, add to the excitement. But I also have friends that I call and spend time with … not on the internet but rather on the phone, in my home, or the great outdoors. Forgive me for the rather visual example here but technology is a tool in our home, just like a toilet or hammer; it is not the solution to everything we have or do in life; it must not be.
    The question you asked about the eight people who will one day carry my coffin (I admit I pray trumpets sound before that day) was a chilling one. But it caused me to think hard about those closest to me.
    Thank you for reminding us that before men formed technology, they formed a friendship.
    -Pierre
    P.S. Pastor Chuck, I love you very much. May God continue to bless you and your family greatly.

  • It does seem as though people who have brushes with death change their behavior in significant ways. Really truth.

  • Awesome points. I need a reminder every now and then to put down my phone and walk next door to say hi.

  • olesya

    Wow that made me sad.