Thursday, August 19, 2010

Connected by a thread...?

What is one to do when something important happens and it seems that everyone forgot to tell you?  That is my quandary this morning.

Yesterday on Facebook I was checking updates on family members and found a note on my cousin's wall that by all appearances said my uncle had passed away.  It wasn't something he posted but a note by another person and then his reply that made this apparent.  This feels really awkward...sort of knowing my uncle is gone and waiting for confirmation from family.  And because of this any mourning is put on hold for me until I know for certain he has passed on.  Right now my mind want to go six ways to Sunday about how this might have happened and I've been fighting the urge to blame someone for forgetting to tell me.  That is somewhere I need not to be going at all, so I decided I would here sit and write this post instead with hopes that I would be able to process through things without focusing blame on anyone, especially my cousins who just lost their dad.  There are so many more important things for them to focus on right now.

Uncle Wayne with his wife Becky, son Darryl and his wife Debbie

My uncle had been in a care facility for some time and in the past few months had been in some decline so this whole event is not a surprise, but the circumstance surrounding finding out about his death are.  It all seems a bit unseemly to me finding out this way, but I'm glad for social media, glad we can keep in touch so easily, thankful for the people I am reconnected with now that are clear across the continent.  This event really makes me wonder though at how "connected" I am really  It seems this connectedness is just some "feeling" of connection that is not really connection at all.

As people, we like to feel we are connected and that Facebook and other social media have somehow magically given it too us without the meat of true connectedness.  The validity of a "connection" can only be truly measured by its testing.  If all we do is read posts/updates and do nothing else are we connected?  My opinion...only by a fragile thread that would not withstand much testing if any. 

On my Facebook I have hundreds of "friends".  I can count the ones I feel I am truly connected with and call close friends in my head but do I even remember the names of all of all those other "friends"?  No. Case in point; there are several of my cousins and even my elderly aunt who have Facebook.  I receive no notes from any of them and it seems for now at least, this social media thing is only a link to keep up on information about what is happening in their lives and that's about it.  Sad but true.

Living so far away from them I'd hoped it would be more, but it seems Facebook is sometimes more like being in a crowded room with no one to talk to.  Actually its that way most all the time save those rare occasions where someone pops up on the chat and wants to really talk.  Its all very "on the surface".  Think about it.  I have and I don't think I am fine with what I'm feeling.

My uncle's passing has brought to light my own failings to stay truly connected with my family.  It seems death always does that.  The really sad part is that though I feel it now, I remember I've felt this way before and still the conviction of it all did not bring action that was sustained over time.  It was only a short burst of guilt over having not been better at staying in touch and that was it.  Guilt is a terrible motivator, so no wonder it never brought forth the desired results.  Love is the best motivator of all.  True love never fails. 

Oh we much do I really love my family?  It is a difficult thing to look at my own failings in light of this truth.  How much time does it take really?  A few minutes to write a note and send it in the mail.  Maybe the same for a phone call.  Love acts...and even if I say I love my widowed aunt, if I do not follow through with some action it all seems like vain imaginings to me.  Has my life gotten so busy or so overwhelming to me that I cannot carve out thirty minutes a month to remember her?

I hope I do better this time around.  I would hope that true love would incite me to act as there are many more people whom I profess to love who could use some words of encouragement and comfort or just a note to say I remembered them today.  I hope I will love them enough to remember to write them or call them, remember to not get so wrapped up in my own life that I forget these wonderful people who could use a reminder that someone is thinking of them.  (O Lord have mercy.)

Heavenly Father,
I am so utterly bad at acting upon the love that I feel in my heart for others sometimes, remembering to phone or to send a little note of encouragement.  Would You help me to be better at this?  Would you help me to be disciplined at this even so others would be blessed.  It is not because of any guilt that I ask this but because of the love and encouragement and comfort that others need from me. Please use me to love, encourage and comfort others in this way more.  It is something I've always desired to do but never seemed to be able to do on my own so I'm asking that You would press upon me to love others more through staying in touch with them. 
In the name of Him who gave His life that we might live eternally, amen.

Copyright © 2010 by Patty Hicks

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