A Friday Thought to Chew On: Pondering That Endangered Species…Thoughtfulness

A Friday Thought to Chew On: Pondering That Endangered Species…Thoughtfulness

Remember when thoughtfulness was hip? When people asked about your work and cared to listen? Or did I dream that? Somewhere in my upbringing I was taught to ask questions of people but more than just make small talk, I was encouraged to listen to that other person…empathize…ask follow-up questions. Care. I don’t know if it’s the increasing pace of life, people’s growing sense of impatience or the decaying inability to stop and give someone else attention as we fill our plates past the brim just to show how great we are multi-tasking…but whatever the culprit, I’m finding thoughtfulness a dying quality. And sometimes in people who I knew once demonstrated the quality. Maybe it’s life overload? I’ve always prided myself in remembering to send birthday cards to tell people I thought of them even for a few minutes that day or following up with someone who just suffered a loss or setback, but I too feel my own empathy and thoughtfulness slipping away.


Why is that? I’m sure time is a big reason. We have so many people and things we are committed to that sometimes it is difficult to remember what should be the obvious and mundane. (Thinks to self, ‘wait, have I peed today?’) And being thoughtful of others takes effort and that can be tiring if you’re overbooked, stressed out or sleep-deprived.


It’s easy to forget to remember. Because remembering requires that we exert energy — from our mind, our heart, our emotions. And if it’s not penciled in my planner, it’s just not happening, we often think to ourselves.


And then one night we’re bubbling with excitement about something we want so much to share with our fellow writer friends. And our other non-writer friends, too. We interact with several of them and we casually mention what we’re working on, so enthusiastic to share what the latest development is in this new venture. But the chit-chat on the topic stops just as quickly as it starts without any further inquiry or interest returned, so then it hits us. Nobody else really gives a crap. Not really. Our lives are so busy and full of things — appointments, obligations, STUFF. There just isn’t anywhere else to store other information like that and if we did have the room, we’d put something else useful in that crevice like that new iTunes song playlist we were brainstorming on the treadmill or more items to add to the Amazon.com wish list.


I was a little sad until I realized that probably all of my friends have experienced that same feeling from me because I didn’t ask them about something they hinted at wanting to gush about. So I’m not mad or even sad anymore. I’m resolved with the fact that I can remember people in whatever thoughtful ways I always have and will continue to do, but I’m probably still going to let them down or others at some point for not acknowledging when they need that. And my expectations must be realistic, too, and expect nothing more than that either.


Sometimes our own personal victories are just that — personal. And something that only we will ever truly appreciate and understand what it took to get to that special place, no matter who we think might want to know even an inkling about how we’ve been spending our time.


Besides, at some point, the work I’m doing will be complete and it will be shared. Formally. When I publish. And maybe at that time, some minds and hearts will be affected and come forth to share how it touched them in some way. I can’t lose faith in the power of the word compelling even the busiest among us to express.


Maybe I should just chalk off all of this as a whiny rant because it’s been a tiring week, and what writing I was able to do was like a sparkling ray of sunshine beaming upon my face. Or who knows? Maybe there’s some real validity buried in here somewhere. *shrugs*


I’d better return to my work now, but, hey — if you get an opportunity to acknowledge someone today or you feel like they could really use even a moment of your time, give it to them. You may have no real concept of just how important a turn their way means to them. Happy weekend, folks.  ~ Chris

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