Last week something happened that disrupted my perfectly peaceful evening–the Internet went out. Panic ensued as I asked my techie son to see if he could find and fix the problem. No such luck. We waited, not so patiently, to see if it would just resolve itself. My daughter wanted to chat with her friends, my son wanted to play video games, and I NEEDED to get on Pinterest. I mean, Thanksgiving is just weeks away and I have no idea what I’m doing for a centerpiece. So instead of sitting in the same room together each looking at our separate screens, we sat and looked at each other.

That’s when it happened. We started to talk. My kids talked about their day. I talked about my day. We started telling jokes and laughing so hard our sides hurt. We made our own entertainment and started playing word games. It was the kind of evening that reminded me of when they were younger–the days before cell phones and iPads and Skyping with friends. The days where they waited for me to provide the entertainment. The days where I was anxious for them to get “a little older” so they didn’t rely on me so much. And it was in those moments that night that I realized we had become a family disconnected.

I don’t really know how or when it started. Somewhere along the line we had become little islands making up our family. I would have told you we were a close-knit family, and I still think it’s not far from the truth. We make a point of sharing a meal together every day, and we share many of the same interests and do things together as often as we can. Yet, it’s a disconnected connection. It’s like a plug that’s inserted into an electrical outlet but not all the way. If you brush up against it just right, it will become disconnected completely. You don’t even know that it’s precariously connected until it’s too late.

That night last week was a gift. It was a reminder of how we can let the busyness of life slowly creep in and disconnect us from each other. It happens with our families and our friends and we don’t even know it is happening. We never mean for it to happen, but responsibilities and expectations start to take the place of relationship with one another. But for a few hours, when we couldn’t do the things we had planned, we made memories. We strengthened relationships we didn’t even know had weakened. We reconnected what had become disconnected.

I don’t want to wait until it is too late to connect with those who mean so much to me. I don’t want to put relationships at the bottom of my to-do list. I don’t want to find out that a connection I thought was there really wasn’t. To do this I must be intentional. I will have to put aside the things that I feel are important in the moment to embrace those things that are important for a lifetime.