Starving For Attention
She sat in the far corner of the booth, baby on the right of her. Her husband sat across from the baby and their toddler sat across from mother. The look. Yes, the look caught my attention. Her posture drooped along with her eyes. Clasped hands and an empty gaze stung my heart.
I couldn’t turn my eyes away from the man whose hands clasped tightly around a cell phone. My eyes bounced between them. She gave a quick glance at her husband and then pulled away. She tightened her hands. No words were spoken. A deafening silence fell between them and I could feel the tension from where I sat. A wounding saturated her body. Brokenness seeped look at me—see me—hear me.
Get off the phone! My mind shouted. I wanted to jump up and run to her. She needs you. Please. She was drowning in the silence and longing for a spoken word, a gentle look, a nod of notice, but none came.
“Help her Lord,” I prayed.
How many of us have been in that situation? Are we afraid we may miss something on Facebook or Instagram if we pull away from our phones? One can find out so much about a person while in a restaurant. I’ve watched a dad on his phone while three kids scrambled around him desperately trying to get his attention. I had to wonder if he was married or divorced? Was this his day with the kids? It was. This was—whether divorced or not, this was a day he had with the kids. I watched through my entire meal (sorry couldn’t help it) and noticed he gave them no attention.
I get it. My husband is addicted to his phone—not only because he wants to be, but as a pastor he’s always getting text messages and phone calls from people needing help. Yes, sometimes I feel like the third wheel. I get it. However, he always gives me the attention I need and almost always puts his phone away.
Time gets away from us. We’re always running here and there. Work has taken control of so many hours. What a wonderful moment when we do get to sit down with each other. It’s a rare and precious time.
So, let us do as the scripture teaches - to “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thess 5:11). Let us “not neglect meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing” (Heb 20:25).
May we “bear one another's burdens” (Gal 6:2). And “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb 10:20). What a great time to do that while sitting around a table without our phones.
Can we “encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, [and] be patient with them all” (1 Thess 5:14). Our families need that. “Finally, brothers [and sisters], rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor 13:11).
My dear friends, today is the only day we have. Tomorrow may never come. May we always remember that every day is a gift from God. Let no one sit in brokenness or loneliness because a cell phone takes precedent over their lives.