On articles and internet connectedness

Unfortunately, a couple of days ago, as I sat at home with my sick daughter, I ran across a few "news" articles. I'm not sure if they should really be classified as news, but they were newsweek articles.

So, the problem with these articles is how they were talking about how we spend out time on social networks like Facebook. And basically now I have a complex.

Why? In part I guess I can relate to Steve Tuttle's article, but at the same time, there are days when the most connection I make with people via interface rather than face to face. (I'm not sure my pun works, but let's just pretend!)

I know I'm much more likely to bare my soul in print rather than in person. But at the same time, I've also been immensely hesitant in making big announcements to the facebook community. Or even online.

A friend of mine openly admits to internet stalking.. I don't deny the same practice, nor do I think anyone who doesn't (admit to) spy on others is any better than the rest of us. Hmph. I don't think I'm getting anywhere.

Maybe it comes down to my idealistic mindset. Ideally, we would all be able to make genuine connections in person. Ideally, we would all have TIME and ENERGY to make face to face connections and write more hand-written notes. But in reality, most of us don't have (or often make) time for more genuine intimacy in our friendships and acquaintances. And, because of our desire to connect, the internet has done far more than anticipated. It has, indeed, brought connections where there would be none. But it has also handicapped us into relying on it for far too much than we ever should have.

So, once again I'm encouraged to be a little less concerned about cyberspace and focus a bit more on being genuine in the real-world. But, it's still pretty hard to pick up the phone...


Today's Random Musing

For today, the sound of hearing E sing "Sponge Bob Square Pants" is just about as good as it gets.

(And for the record, she's been sick, so it's great that she's not only stopped running a fever, but now I have an indication she's also feeling good!)



On blindness

A few months ago, I learned that I'm a "squinter." No, not because I need to see the eye doctor, but because I live in the "West." Each morning I drive into the sun to get to work, and each evening I drive back into the sun to get home. The sun is blinding. And, the whole idea of those unique things called sunglasses, well, I'm just not that organized. I've bought them, but presently, I own none.

So, as I approach the highway to turn East a few mornings ago. I was listening to one of my usual Christian-based radio stations. I can't recall what I was listening to, but it may have been a song or talking or something else as nearly as irrelevant. It was just at that point that I had a mini-revelation.

Judgmentalness is blinding.

When I am standing back and judging the person to my right or to my left, I am closing off the parts of us that are the same. I am not allowing myself to see the truth. The person I'm judging may be facing terrible pain or frustration or God-only-knows what else, but my attitude can so easily keep me from seeing the truth. My judgmental mask blinds me from being compassionate or showing them tenderness at a time when they may need it or be blessed by it. When I assume the person in the car in front of me cut me off on purpose or guy in the checkout line in front of me is being irrational--- I am unable to see that he may have just lost a job, a loved one, or might just be having a rough day.

And tonight, in light of that thought...

E and I went to "fat" freddy's. The place was completely packed so we both decided it would be fun to go to the car to eat. So, I lugged my ever-expanding self and E pleasantly walked with to me back to the car. I had a bag, two drinks and two "cups" of ketchup, oh yeah, and my purse, AND I was somehow holding E's hand. So, when we reached the car, I set the bag of food on top of the car... I heard the wind shaking the bag, but I was still quite surprised when the sack blew off and all of our fries fell onto the ground (oh, and of course the ketchup fell then, too). I looked down at the fries. Well, crap... I didn't want to pay for more fries, and I didn't really want to go all the way back in to see if they would give us more. Although I wasn't overly upset, I certainly felt kind of defeated. And then...

There was a lady in the car next to us. I'd seen her inside with two daughters. And inside, I actually thought she seemed a bit on the grumpy side of neutral (but perhaps that was just her facial expression, or maybe she just wanted to get out of the crowded venue). They'd gotten their food just before us. And you know what? She got out and said, "did you lose all your fries?--- Here, you can have mine." To which I replied: "Are you sure?" And she said, "Yes, take mine, I never eat them all anyways, and I have two others to eat from." And she proceeded to help my gather all my stuff and move the 3 12-packs of soda that E didn't want to sit on like mock booster seat. It's funny because I was embarrassed at all the stuff in the front of the car, yet had to laugh because I'd actually "cleaned" my car this week. (Before that cleaning day we could have only eaten in the trunk.)

So, I'm grateful that this other mom didn't look at me and think I was stupid for not having my stuff together. And she didn't condemn me for not expecting this terrific Kansas wind to knock everything off the car. Her kindness truly blessed me, and I sat happily eating those fries without any ketchup whatsoever. I didn't need them to begin with, but I am truly grateful for her compassion.

With those (and other) simple reminders, it has become increasingly easier to remember that when it comes to being gentle, loving, kind and compassionate with others...

I'd rather give freely due to my understanding that I am clueless about what's going on in/around the person in front of me, than judge them and blind myself from the possibility of seeing the truth.

And the truth is---

We all need compassion, grace and sometimes just a genuine smile because we are each more fragile than we let on.

And honestly, I hope I can live in that truth a moment longer tomorrow than I did today.