It’s never been easier to ignore our neighbors. The social web offers an almost infinite number of other distractions to steal our time and attention. It offers huge opportunity, too, to be sure. But it also presents a temptation to busily look past the neighbor who may need us most.
We live in a world of digital abstractions—causes and conversations and inboxes and intimacies that can easily make us forget about the warm-blooded, fleshy embodied souls breathing the same air right next to us.
It’s not that those digital abstractions aren’t real or important. They are very real. And they are very important. But they aren’t as direct or present as the closest and more literal neighbors God has placed in your life already. The ones you can reach out and touch, hug, hear and hold. Have you thought about them lately? Have you made them a priority?
“Who is my “neighbor” in this new world? Does the danger exist that we may be less present to those whom we encounter in our everyday life? Is there a risk of being more distracted because our attention is fragmented and absorbed in a world “other” than the one in which we live? Do we have time to reflect critically on our choices and to foster human relationships which are truly deep and lasting? It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives.” - Pope Benedict XVI, 45th Communications Day
Turn off the computer. Turn off your phone. Turn off the TV. Turn off the radio. Take a deep breath.
Now find your closest neighbor and love them—today.