Connections: The treasure in getting off-track

The coffee shop buzzed with life, with conversation…with people getting things done, while I stared helplessly at my still-shut laptop. I only have mother’s morning out twice a week, and the clock was ticking down. Why couldn’t I get started?

Write. Write. Write!

My mind is pulled in so many directions today, flitting like a crazed butterfly unable to land on any flower for long. I can’t write—my mind won’t settle. I can’t read—reading (The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell, in case anyone’s wondering) only reminds me how I could be (should be?) writing, and time is running out. I stared at my husband, seated across from me, with his hoodie pulled up over his baseball cap, contentedly sipping a latte and engrossed in his game. I love him for his present-mindedness. He’s teaching me a thing or two about that. But not today, obviously.

Then, a conversation. Out of the blue. Starting with good ol’ Southern small talk, but quickly delving into the depths of real, live community—the kind we all crave so desperately, but rarely find. Ain’t nobody got time for that—we’ve got stuff to do, errands to run, writing to accomplish!

Yet, here, a conversation. More than that, really. A connection.

And I walk away completely energized and encouraged (about writing, of all things!). So inspired, actually, that I’ve pulled into a little parking lot to write in my car.

Here’s the thing: Isn’t everything we do, everything that truly fills us up, about genuine connection and relationships? It’s so easy to forget in our task-oriented, productivity-centered, input-output society, but this meandering, uncontrollable, magical thing called Connection is what revitalizes us. Aren’t the best stories about meaningful connections?

Aren’t the best lives?

What if I’d opened my laptop this morning and never looked beyond the screen? Would I have typed any valuable words, or stared at Twitter and Facebook with a lost glaze in my eyes? I wouldn’t have waved at our friend in the coffee shop, that’s for sure—I’d have been sucked into the tasks at my fingertips.

Conversation was a distraction. Connection wasn’t on my list—productivity was. And yet, here I sit, as a result of this spontaneous, authentic conversation between myself, this friend, and my husband, more invigorated than I ever would have been if I had forced myself to stare at the screen.

To you out there: Let yourself get distracted. Let yourself “get off track.” Stay open. If you’re open, you might find this gift called Connection that will give you more satisfaction than checking the boxes off of your to-do list.


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