This past weekend we lost another loved one in our family, my father-in-law, Dr. Robert Bruce Ullman, OD. His suffering finally ended and he is now at much-deserved peace.
According to Jewish custom, after a funeral we follow a tradition called “sitting shiva.” In layman’s terms, this is a period of seven days where the family of the deceased stays in their home while their relatives and friends visit. It was so nice to see everyone willing to take a break from their busy lives to make sure their loved ones were taken care of — some bringing food-and-fruit baskets and platters, and some coming armed with great memories to share.
Whichever the case, the important thing is that during this somber time, we find comfort in fond memories and honest conversation. It was heartwarming to witness old friends of the family share stories and even get a few laughs from the mourners. Everyone is seemingly in good spirits considering the circumstances and the feeling of having support from so many people is truly gratifying. As the evening comes to an end, you hear things said like, “I hope to see you again under better circumstances” or “Call me, let’s get together soon.”
Later that night, a couple of us were sitting around the dinner table and the phenomenon of the “receive-only phone” came up. The topic arose because, as someone was preparing to leave, they remarked, “You know where I live.” Slightly offended, the reply was, “You know where I live too.” It was innocent enough banter, but in truth included a slight jab both ways and went beyond its surface meaning. It quickly became the evening’s hot topic, making us ponder: “Are phones meant to just receive calls or are they for calling out too?”
The answer is obvious, and I’m sure we can all relate on many levels. Often we say to people, “Let’s hang out,” or “Call me” or “Oh my God it’s been forever, we have to catch up!” But then we sit around and wait for that person to call us. Well, I say, “Shame on you!” Telephones work both ways, so why are we waiting for others to call us? Why do we always complain that we don’t have many friends when we’re not putting out the effort to cultivate new ones?
It’s kind of funny that, in today’s world, with texts, e-mails, etc., we lose that human touch. We yearn to hear someone’s voice, or receive a personal card via “snail mail,” yet we don’t often think of reciprocating. Doesn’t it make you smile and isn’t it exciting when you get an occasion card in your home mailbox? It’s a treat, right? Well it’s the same when you call someone. Believe me, I am guilty too — it’s just easier and more convenient for me to text most of the time. But it always impresses me when I get a call. I hear the inflection in people’s voices and realize the importance of communicating effectively by talking, and not guessing what they’re feeling by reading a text.
We are currently embarking on a new year and making attainable resolutions for ourselves. Please make sure you add one more to your list, because the point here is that if you have an old friend or even a close family member who you want to stay in contact with, or care deeply for, then make sure to be more personal with them. Turn your phone into a dual-purpose machine where receiving and sending are equally necessary.
As the old yet relevant AT&T saying goes:
“Reach out and touch someone.”
Whitney is an on-air multimedia personality, and works behind the scenes helping businesses gain extra exposure, through her WIN Promotions video production services.