When The World Was Silent
It was early morning, and we had just posted a funny picture of Louie and me on our Facebook page. While writing this blog, one “like” after another popped up on the page, and I continually diverted my attention to review the latest comment. The post was trending well, and the “likes” popped up by the second.
Louie, however, was unimpressed. As he sat on his favorite loveseat and sighed, he looked at me with those big brown eyes as if to say, “Mom, remember when the world was silent?”
“Hmmm,” not wanting to be distracted from my computer or offer any further response.
“Well, I sure remember.” He sighed, deeper this time.
When the stay-at-home order was put in place, everything came to a screeching halt. We were not sure what it all meant or how long the quarantine would last. The world collectively held our breath. Then little by little, we started doing life online and now it seems more than ever, I am always connected to technology.
“I remember we took long walks together, we talked, and you actually looked at me when you talked to me,” Louie observed.
“Lou, aren’t you being a little dramatic? We still take long walks, right?” DING, another “like,” and I’m right back on my computer, laughing out loud at the latest funny comment on the post.
He leaned back and sighed as he longingly looked out the window. “I rest my case!”
“Awww, Lou, come on! It's not that bad,” I said, not looking up. “I know I'm on my computer a lot, but I'm a writer, and that means computer time.”
He then sat straight up and looked at me with an intense, soul-searching look. “It’s not about the computer, Mom, or the likes or the funny comments.”
How Important Is Being "Liked"?
I closed my computer and sat for a minute, looking at my pup. After staring intently at one another, I suddenly understood the message his body language and facial expressions were trying to relay to me. Yes, Louie, I remember when we stopped everything, and it seemed the world was silent, and in order to continue to move forward, we had to breathe in deeply. And yes, that was a welcome reprieve from the busyness of the world and the bombardment of social media.
Thanks to COVID-19, people are hungry for any sort of connection and attention. They’ll write just about anything in their posts, articles, and advertisements. Truth seems to be a commodity that is regarded as silly, or worse, not necessary. How easy it is to get caught up with hoping people “like” us. Our innate desire to be connected is glossed over by what we want people to see, and in turn, what we hope they like.
I cherish the posts that are real and authentic. I love the pictures of family, friends, and loved ones, and following stories of brave children who battle cancer every day. But, oh, how I cringe at the boastfulness of others.
Truth and Authenticity
During this time of quarantine, I’ve come to realize even more so that people have a foundational need to be relational, authentic, and transparent. Merely putting on a mask (not a PPE), writing a “boast post,” and becoming “known” does not make you a likable person or a good leader. People clicking “like” does not mean people like you.
If we’ve learned nothing more during the last two months, I hope we now understand that real, authentic relationships are the very core, the essence of our being. When that is missing with our family, loved ones, and teams, and even with people we don’t know well, success is fleeting.
I looked at Louie, who was determined to win the staredown. “Let's go on a long walk, Lou!” And with that, Louie jumped to his feet, happily bounded down the steps, tail wagging, tongue hanging out, and headed toward the door. He is a constant reminder of the need for connection, authenticity, and truth. From him, I have learned how truth is refreshing and freeing and very much needed in our world today.