I love people-watching. Not in a creepy way. In a lazy, dreamy, casual observer sort of way.
I’m people-watching right now. I’m sitting alone in a café, under fluorescent lights, listening to the hum of busy shoppers all around me. I watch the steam curl upwards from my cup of tea as I ponder the mysteries of life.
There are others in this café. Couples, friends, family are sitting around little tables, caught up in eager conversation or enjoying a brief hiatus from shopping, indulging in foamy lattes and delicate pastry delights.
And it strikes me how important human connection is for all of us.
Human connection is important for all of us.
This need for connection seems especially heightened when we are single or childless. Often we crave more frequent or deeper connections because of the relationships we want but do not have. Romantic relationships. Soulmate relationships. Child-parent relationships.
In the psychology world, people are divided into two camps: the people-oriented and the task-oriented. I’m a task-person. I like ticking things off my to-do list. The down side of being a task-person is sometimes I focus on getting tasks done at the expense of the people around me.
A people-person, by contrast, is driven by other people rather than by a to-do list. They focus on the involvement of everybody, sometimes as the expense of getting tasks done. That is the down side. But regardless of whether we prefer people or tasks, we all need people to some degree.
Even as a task-person, there are times when I want and need to put my mental checklist away and just be with people. Sometimes I need to listen, to engage, to share. I may not be people-oriented, but I am still a people-person.
In fact, we are all people-people.
We are all people-people.
When I was single, social conversation became important to me. I was spending my evenings alone with only a cat to talk to, and while she was a great confidante in many ways, she was not quite the same as a person. Probably something to do with lacking the power of speech.
So when I went to church, human contact was high on my priority list. Conversations were important. Hugs were important. And that is what I got. Every single one of my human intimacy needs were met. (Except sex, of course. My church was close, but not that close.)
And now, as a married-and-childless person, I need connection with other childless people who ‘get’ me.
I wonder if human intimacy is what many of us are craving, rather than the romance or sex society suggests. We don’t just need physical intimacy (although some of us definitely need hugs) but intimacy on mental and emotional levels as well.
Human intimacy is what many of us are craving.
We crave the kind of intimacy that listens and shares passions. The kind of contact that is genuinely interested in us. The kind of connection that affirms how important and valuable we are. Regardless of our relationship or parental status.
All of us need to be seen and known and understood, if only by one other person. And that person does not have to be a partner. It can be a friend, a parent, a sibling, a fellow childless person, anyone who gets us on a meaningful level. We all need someone who will cheer us on.
God is someone who sees us. He knows us. He gets where we are coming from. When we are craving human connection, God is there for us, listening, responding, cheering us on.
All of us are people-people. And God is a people-person too.
How much human connection do you need? Who is cheering you on in your journey? Who are you cheering for? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.