I was at a red light recently and because I had nothing better to do I looked at the cars going across and wow 7 out of 11 drivers were on their cell-phones; that's 64%, a significant majority in my unscientific study but we all know that we live in a communication age. Satellites, cellphones and the internet keep us instantly connected to the world as never before. So if we are connecting and communicating as never before then why are we having so many problems relating?..
The recent senseless shootings in Arizona has shocked and outraged me as, I'm sure, most people in the country. It seems politically motivated but come on, just because you don't agree with someone's politics you pick up a gun to kill? When you point that gun don't you see another human being in front of you? Of course this kind of senseless killing occurs in the home, among 'lovers', on the roads. There seems to be a disconnect (no pun intended) between a world that is constantly communicating and this seeming rise of those who have trouble relating.
I ask you to bear with me as I've got this 'stream of consciousness' thing going and hopefully it will all come together for both you and for me.
I use Facebook like a gazillion other people these days. Facebook is just one of many social netwoking sites that have popped up on the internet in relatively recent times. It has helped me to reconnect and stay in touch with more people than was possible in the days of plain old telephone and letter writing. The premise is pretty much the same in all of them; search and find people to join your network of friends. And that brings me to the core of my thoughts on this whole communicating vs. relating thing.
In Facebook you send or receive a 'friend request'. Once accepted that person is in your circle. I know people who have hundreds and others who have thousands of people in their circle. But are they 'friends'. Do you know them as they really are and do they really know you or is Facebook just a great way to mask yourself? A mask can be used to (a) hide your true identity and/or (b) project a false image. In my life's experience so far I have found that true friends are like precious gems: beautiful, rare, and never lose their luster (lustre for some). Can you truly befriend someone and not really be a friend? Do you need a mask with friends?
The Facebook phenomena has given us the word 'unfriend' which was actually declared, by scholars who have more time than I, to be the Word of the Year 2009. And I've heard it used by several people lately who were bemoaning that someone had 'unfriended' them, that is, blocked or removed them from their network list. Gone just like that, with the click of a button. That's how we make 'friends' and 'unfriends' these day. Apparently it causes real pain because it is a form of rejection - cyber rejection, but rejection nonetheless, and rejection always hurts.
Let's try something for 2011: 'Re-friend'. There are so many relationships that have been broken by hurts committed by others or by the hurts we committed and no matter how much we've tried to 'unfriend', that hurt lingers like a festering sore. It's called 'unforgiveness' and there is only one cure - yes, forgiveness. Maybe it's time to click the 're-friend' button. You may have to say 'I'm sorry' or 'I forgive' depending where you stand but just as 'unfriend' hurts, 'refriend' heals.
I find some answers as I meditate on the Cross:
* On it hung the One who reached out and said "I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father" and "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."
* There is no 'unfriend' button on the cross but there are three nail holes of love.
* "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." - he 're-friended' us.
I don't know if this makes any sense to you, but if we can use social networking as a means of relating as we should and not just communicating as we shouldn't then maybe, just maybe we can reduce the senseless violence that occurs in people's hearts. All I know is we have to try.
Hi, welcome to my weekly blog. I'm deacon Michel and I love blogging and the healthy exchange of constructive ideas. Now my mind has been known to wander on a million different things all at once so don't be surprised at what you find here. I often scratch my head and go 'Huh?' at my own thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts with me.
This blog reflects MY ongoing Christian journey: insights gained through the Holy Spirit, my experiences, my studies, my relationships. The content of this website is solely that of Deacon Michel du Chaussee, and does not represent the Archdiocese of Miami or any other entity of the Roman Catholic Church in any official capacity. Needless to say, I hope that none of my writings are contrary to the doctrines of faith and morals that are reflected in Sacred Tradition or as taught and guarded by the Magisterium of the Church or to the truths of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
For I take seriously what a very wise man has often said to me:
"Ordination is not license for private practice" - Msgr. A. Andersen