CHANGES, CONNECTIONS, AND NEW WAYS

Moving forward, I am learning even more about the blogging world and what it entails. Social media, for instance, a complete mystery to me until recently. I am only beginning to learn how to use it. There are more sites than I ever imagined and only a handful are familiar to me. Being out there in the ‘world of online’ is like going to the moon; alien, new, exciting. People from all over are reading my blogs and I am checking out theirs which makes for a very small world indeed; yet, at the same time, it is truly enormous! And, it’s also scary. This is the world teenagers of today know and visit every day. They take it all as completely normal. There are young people…and even older people…who never get to know the person standing next to them, but have friends hundreds, even thousands of miles away through the internet. And, while it can be scary out in the physical world too, surfing the net, visiting different web sites, connecting with strangers through social media sites actually brings us into more contact with those looking for victims. It’s the nature of the online world, wide open with no way of knowing whether the person at the other end is who they portray themselves as being.

I was reading in chapter 15 of Luke this morning; about the man who had 100 sheep, lost one, and left the 99 to go find the one which was lost. Then the verses go on to tell of a woman who had 10 silver coins and lost one. She did a thorough search throughout her entire house until she found it. These two people then went to their neighbors and told them about it. I always thought it was kind of silly to go running to your neighbors to tell them about searching for something you had lost, but when I read these verses this morning I suddenly realized something about them. These people were deeply connected to their neighbors. They interacted with them on a daily basis, sharing their lives with one another as they lived out their lives in a very limited world.

Once upon a time, here in America, we had more contact with our neighbors. I remember a time when I was about nine years old. We lived in a trailer park and knew nearly all of our neighbors. We visited and interacted with them every day. One day the stove in our trailer home had an issue with the flow of propane to its burners and it had a minor explosion…sending all our dinner to the ceiling. So, there were, our dinner on the ceiling and nothing on the table. But our neighbors learned of the mishap within minutes and soon we were being visited by neighborhood women, each carrying a dish for our evening meal…neighbors being neighborly.

We were connected to each other and we supported one another in our daily lives, giving when giving was needed; helping when helping was needed, visiting and socializing together. It was a wonderful life and full of all the things people are looking for on social media today. My father was a big equipment operator. The jobs didn’t come to him, he went to them: highways, dams, open pit mines. So my parents bought a trailer and we moved to wherever the next job was; six months here and there and half of each year in the town where I was born. Everywhere we went there were others like ourselves who went where there was work and each time we set up our trailer in a new place we got to know our new neighbors. It’s what people did back then. We were never alone and we always knew everyone in the neighborhood, even if it was for only six months.

Now, we often don’t know the people who live next door. I know people all over town…from school, church, work; but I don’t know the young couple that lives next door. I have more interaction with their dog than I do with them. It seems to be a side effect of the internet. I love learning to live in a broader world peopled by individuals I enjoy getting acquainted with through the written word and photos, but I will never meet them face to face. We need that face to face interaction with people around us; friends and family that are in the world we live in, sharing our life, times of being together, doing and going places together. I don’t want to lose the physical world I actually live in because when it is all said and done…being together with the people around you, that’s what we have in this life. I hope I never lose sight of that truth.

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