Friday, October 28, 2011

Keeping Up Connections

It feels good to know you've made a difference in someone's day. Maintaining family connections is important -- not only for your own well-being, but for the impact on those you love.

Over the weekend, Dave & I visited with elderly relatives.

Sometimes we get so busy in our day-to-day activities, and in keeping up with the demands of work and home, that our days are a blur. Modern technology has impacted face-to-face interactions too. With voicemail, email, texting, and online calendars jammed with appointments and commitments, it's with us always, right in the palms of our hands. These devices may have been developed to make our lives easier, but we feel compelled to respond immediately, so we end up more stressed than ever!

Every now and then, we should stop to take a quiet moment, and consider elder family members and others we know whose lives are not so intertwined with modern technology. Imagine what it might be like to have failing senses -- eyesight and hearing diminish, and oftentimes there are other health conditions in the mix as well. The world closes in as driving privileges are lost, friends pass away, opportunities for social activities are fewer.

On Saturday, we visited my grandfather who is 94 years old. He lives alone in a apartment. He was suffering from a migraine headache when we arrived, but still so happy to see us. We brought him donuts. We also changed the batteries in his hearing aids, read him his mail, and took out his garbage. We sat and talked. We had my 7-year-old daughter, Katie,  with us and she gave him a big, big hug!

On Sunday Katie went to her Dad's house. We were free to get in some cycling, and although the weather was a little on the cold side, we had made that our day to get out on the tandem and get some exercise. But where to ride?

Our visit on Saturday was very gratifying. In fact, we enjoyed the time spent as much as I'm sure my grandfather did. So on Sunday, we decided to visit David's elderly aunt in Rhode Island. It was 30 miles to see her and 30 miles back. We got on the tandem and made it our mission -- not only to gain the benefits of pedaling -- but to brighten her day!

The smile on her face made all the pedaling all the more worthwhile!

Small acts of kindness can mean a lot.

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