Almost 18 years ago I was setting up my first apartment as a married woman in upstate New York. One of the first things I pulled out of the box was our brand new, shiny computer complete with a cd-rom which would allow us to connect, via landline, to the Internet. I remember putting the cd in, getting everything hooked up and then hearing the sound of the computer dialing a phone number, listening to a long, drawn out fax machine sound, and then finally connecting. That process alone took several minutes. Then, if I wanted to actually go to a web page I would have to sit patiently while the page “loaded” until I could view it.
At the time, I didn’t mind the wait because I didn’t know any differently. Now, all those years later, I get impatient if my computer takes more than a second to load a page, and with the advent of “smart” machines, there is no longer a waiting period just to access the internet. It’s all right there — and it’s immediate. Ahhhhh….
In fact, it seems everything is faster. Fast food is faster, stores are open 24 hours so we don’t have to wait to buy that bag of chips, movies are at our fingertips, and smartphones make communication via email and text faster than ever. All these innovations, in many ways, have certainly made life easier. I love that my daughter’s soccer coach simply adds all practices and games right to our shared team calendar so I can automatically see what’s coming up.k
But, of course, there is a flipside to all this amazing technology. We’re not robots. Human beings are still human beings and anything having to do with human beings still adheres to much of the same rules as has applied throughout all human history. If you want a relationship with someone — be it a child, co-worker, partner, or parents — it requires two things:
I want to focus on “time.” When I planted tomatoes earlier this summer, my kids were so excited. My daughter went out the next day to water and was dismayed to find out there weren’t any tomatoes growing! I explained to her the process of growing, watering sunshine and time and helped her look forward to the delicious tomatoes we would be eating in a few months. But in her world of “fast everything” something like this was a new concept.
I’m finding that for many adults, they too are forgetting this important concept as it applies to life and relationships. A foundation of any relationship is trust. Trust isn’t built overnight or even over a few weeks. It’s built and maintained throughout a lifetime. When it’s damaged, it can only be repaired with consistency and time.
The process of grief isn’t something that can be rushed or checked off each day. We all respond to situations and circumstances in unique ways and our humanity is expressed during times such as these. There isn’t an “app” that can just magically make things better to remove the work of grief. It’s often a matter of time and allowing the process to take place.
Strong relationships grow over — you guessed it — time. The more frenzied our world becomes and no matter how fast our smart machines become, they cannot do the work of being human for us. So, if you’re finding yourself frustrated by what seems like a lack of progress in a certain area, remind yourself that you are a human being and not a human doing and some things just take time, no matter how much we hate to hear that. It is simply a truth that is; like gravity or another universal law, so take a breath and accept the journey.