Sunday, November 7, 2010
Abstract and Remote Love
We've moved into a new era. I think we need to talk about new emotions that follow any sort of change. There was a time we loved only those near and dear to us and our worlds were basically small and consisted of our families, circle of friends, and perhaps a fellowship of church members. But now, now our worlds have greatly enlarged with the ability to connect and form friendships, even romantic relations, all over the world. I've come to love this about the world wide web.
Many have fears and trepidations about this new technological means of forging friendships. I would never imply that evil intent is not present as it is also in our tangible world. We must evaluate our friendships online as well as off. And we must listen to ourselves when we do this, heeding those feelings that make us wary.
But laying aside the evil, the internet, as I see it, has contributed so much toward connecting us as people - to making us come together as a whole. There is some kind of magnificent power in learning to see inside someone's soul through their words before you ever, if ever, touch their hand or look into their eyes. These things do not happen quickly. No more than a friend in person is made over night neither does it occur in the online world. It's through conversation and time that it is revealed what level of friendship may come from the connection.
Which brings me to my point: abstract and remote love. I'm not speaking of romantic love, as such, but love for others, love for friends. In the last few years, I've made a number of friendships here online that I believe to be very real and true, yet, I may or may not ever come to know these in the physical. Does that make them any less real? Some of these friendships, I have been fortunate to grab hold of and hug personally, some of the friendships exist here in my same city, none of which I knew prior to our meeting online.
I've been teased, at times, about my friends online and felt their sarcastic implication that these were not "real" friends. That makes me both mad and sad. Sad that some stay sheltered in their own little circle afraid to reach beyond what they can see or touch. And mad that, perhaps, these friendships are much deeper than that of the one expressing their sarcasm.
I am quite understanding in the fact that not everyone has embraced the internet in this manner nor do they feel they want or need to. That is okay with me. But I, on the other hand, have found my world enlightened and broadened by the friendships made here. I do admit that I often wonder if some of these friendships feel as real to the other as it does to me. Recently, with the downfall of my blogging circle, I think we all began to feel the 'realness' of our friendships. A wave of 'how will we keep in touch' thoughts ran rampant. We began to seek other routes to stay connected. We made efforts to keep our community intact. Something was really heart warming to me about that. Yes, some of my former friends fell away. I'm still grieving those losses and remaining grateful for the season we had together, a season where it's my wish that we both took something away from the friendship.
Now, with the online circle a bit smaller, what I am feeling is an even closer personal friendship with those who have knitted together. Is this not real? I need to know because sometimes in my adventurous mind, I dream of visiting each and everyone of these online friends. Time will tell those that are true, I believe, and who knows just what I might do :)
If you are here and reading, I can assume that you, too, have a penchant for the internet, that you find some joy in connecting with others. So, share with me, please, how real are your friendships that you maintain online?
Posted by paige at 6:19 PM