A few years ago I would on occasion call one of my siblings and chat briefly. Once a year I would wish them a happy birthday. We would see each other several times a year at a few family get together’s and at an occasional funeral or wedding. That was the extent of our contact. I had as a youth though pictured that we would be close and that our children would know each other well. Then time passed and me and my siblings went our separate ways and our children — well they knew each other but not all that well. Then facebook was born.
Today I know what most my siblings are doing most of the time and they are in tune to my life as well. I say most because I have two siblings who do not see the need for using a social network and I feel out of touch with them. Because of facebook last night I enjoyed telling my brother good night and that I loved him just prior to retiring for the day. I would not have done this had there not been a social network. I was online and I saw that he was online and I made a connection and instantly just like that we were chatting. As I turned off my laptop and called it a day I went to sleep knowing that my brother loved me, and I felt grateful to know that he knew that I loved him. It was awesome!
There have been other fine moments when across the miles thru the means of this modern technology I can reach out and touch someone and they can reach back and do the same. I’m not a person who tries to see how many friends I can have on facebook. I keep my friends limited to family and very close acquaintances. So my list of friends do not number in the hundred’s. My facebook friends include my children, my siblings, my parents, my nieces and nephews, some cousins and aunts and uncles, and a few extended family along with a few close friends.
Prior to my joining facebook I had very few pictures of my nieces and nephews or of my siblings. Now my collection of family photos is a nice one. Two years ago I never knew what my nieces and nephews were doing. Their lives were not part of my life, nor was I part of theirs. I especially never knew how my cousins were. Years would go by without any contact. Some of my cousins I hadn’t seen nor heard from since the passing of our grandmother. That is all changing now.
In the last little while I am aware of a cousin’s son who is fighting a wild fire, a nephew whose wife needed stitches, a grand nephew who is going back to school, a brother and his wife who have returned from traveling in the East, a sister-in-law and my nieces who experienced Hawaii, the successful recipes my cousin’s wife tested, the communication my children have had with their friends, what a friends water aerobic class in Europe was like, how a former exchange student spent his birthday in Taiwan, when another is traveling to the United States, and the many more everyday normal affairs taking place in the lives of the people who care about me, and whom I care about. Greater still is the pleasure I get out of seeing my children communicate with their grandparent, uncle and aunts, and cousins. It is heart warming!
Not once in the little over a year that I have been reaching out and connecting to my circle of family and friends have I ever seen our social networking be tarnished with gossip, ill speaking, nor criticism or any kind. Instead what I see is a drawing closer together of family. I see my aged mother making connections with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I see the sharing of photos and family information that can only enrich my life and the life of my parents and children. When there is a mishap or an illness this new technology makes the bonding of prayer of family for family encompassing.
I am sure that in some circles in the world social networking is used to tear down and destroy relationships and communities. In my circle, in my world, this easy to use technology has only enriched and improved my life and the life of my children. Has it replaced contact in person? No not at all, if anything it has increased how often we see each other. Announcements of family events are given and information on what is needed is readily available. Because of this connection between my siblings and I who do use facebook we are closer and the bond is stronger. Sadly, I feel that there is less connection between me and my siblings who do not use facebook for our relationship is still like it was prior to this new technology coming about. It is like if they have yet to be enlightened and are still in the dark ages. Furthermore I have no connection at all with my cousins who are not on face book and I find this is indeed sad.
Recently was the aniversary of my sons death, my late husband’s birthday, and the anniversary of my brother’s death, all within two days. Because of facebook I was able to share photos of these three loved and very much missed family members with my friends and family. It meant a world to me and I’m sure that those who were able to view these were most grateful. This is a real plus, being able to share at the click of a finger.
So here’s to you the creators of social networking: thanks for enriching my life.