Now that technology is firmly entrenched as THE method of communication in life, I find myself bemoaning the loss of real connection with people.
People call me when busy with something else, giving only a tiny portion of their attention to whatever I may say. It's an insult, really, when you're speaking on the phone and you realize your friend is typing on their computer or reading e-mails. Even when people call ME, and interrupt whatever I may be doing a the moment, they feel compelled to be doing something interesting while talking to me. I am not the only person who experiences this. This is a huge problem in our culture.
"Multi-tasking" inhibits a person's comprehension considerably. Recent scientific studies confirm this. I used to love reading classified ads when job hunting. Invariably, several would say, "must love multi-tasking," as if this was a good thing! An employer once told me, "you can't expect to do just ONE THING AT A TIME!" She was incensed. I had to tell her that I can ONLY do one thing at a time, which is true for all human beings.
We may THINK we are multi-tasking, but, in actuality we are fracturing our attention into tiny little bits had making our mind flip back and forth between each tiny little bit. Memory and cognition suffer greatly when trained into this habit.
In order to adequately absorb information and to learn absolutely anything, one MUST be able to concentrate on one thing for more than a nanosecond.
What you are communicating when you occupy yourself with something other than the conversation at hand is that you don't value the conversation. If you don't agree with that statement, ask yourself this, "if the Pope was on the other end of the phone, would you be playing "free Cell" or "solitaire?" Would you be simultaneously chatting with your husband and kids without even saying, "excuse me for a sec?"
Every human being has the same 24 hours in a day. We can delude ourselves into thinking that we are far more busy than others, but it isn't true. I do not have a typical "job," but my responsibilities and necessary activities are such that I don't have enough time in any day to accomplish all of them. I do the best I can and get as much done as possible, without making other people suffer for it.
I love people, and I want to communicate that to them when they take the time to call me.I listen to what they have to say, and I even ask questions and demonstrate interest in whatever interests them. I can assure you that some of it is downright boring, but, for the sake of the person made in the image and likeness of God, I give my time over to my caller, gifting them with my undivided attention.
Sometimes I have to cut a conversation short in order to attend to a duty, and I do so, knowing that I have given the best of myself to the other person. occasionally, however, I am not at my best and I may be irritable with the caller. Later, I return the call and apologize. It is a spiritual practice that I highly recommend.
I am not important. I am no better than anyone else and, consequently, I try not to behave as if I've got better things to do than to talk to some ordinary person. Therese of Lisieux has been very helpful to me in this regard. She was kind to people who weren't kind to her and whose conversation bored her. She made an effort.
It is not going to kill you if you sit down, put up your feet, drink a cup of tea, and have a nice conversation with a caller, even if they ARE boring. They must need this conversation with you for some reason. The relaxation that you would get from adopting this posture while talking to them may actually be good for you too!
Learning to concentrate in all arenas of your life will increase your serenity factor and help you in your conversation with the Lord. I promise.
I would pray that you give it a try. Keep the conversation short if you have to run off and do something else, but at least give your callers your undivided attention in an act of love. Jesus will love you for it.
God bless us all...