By: Ramona Peckham ~Guest Writer~
We are constantly bombarded with school, work, maintaining a social life and family. It’s like a giant hamster wheel that keeps on spinning, and if you take one step off, you go splat on your face. But isn’t there more to life than just excelling at your work and maintaining existing relationships with friends and family? What about connecting with new people?
Last year, I interned for Back2Back Ministries, a global non-profit that provides orphans holistic care so that they might overcome their life circumstances and break free from the cycle of generational poverty. Part of my internship was to work in Monterrey, Mexico, with the staff members and to assist mission trip guests. It wasn’t until I worked at Monterrey that I truly learned the value of connecting with new people.
In Monterrey, we took a group of kids from one of the children’s homes back to our campsite for a pool party. I chaperoned a 9-year old boy named Ricardo. He was quiet the entire ride to campus. His chin tucked into his chest, he would take in his surroundings through his peripheral vision. I tried to find the words to engage with him, but I was just a stuttering mess.
Once we got to the pool, Ricardo went off with his friends to the playground, and the electric twinge in my stomach was gone. I was free to do what I do best – plan and execute day-today activities. Planning the lunch made me feel accomplished because I could focus on completing one task successfully.
An hour later, lunch was finally set, and all the kids began heading back to the picnic table. I saw Ricardo walking back, but he wasn’t the same cheerful boy he was before. He sat down sullenly in the back corner of the picnic table isolating himself from the rest of the kids. Ricardo kept looking back at me, and suddenly getting all those tasks done didn’t feel as rewarding anymore. I dropped what I was doing and decided to just sit with him for the remainder of the lunch. After 30 minutes of sitting together quietly, he looked back up at me, revealing a small dimple in his left cheek. At that moment, I realized that my job wasn’t to carry out tasks; it was to care and just be there for Ricardo.
So many times, we get so wrapped up in our own world that we forget to open our eyes to those in need of a good companion. You don’t have to be a relationship expert to reach out to new people. You just need to open your eyes. Just being in the moment with someone can speak for itself.