Sunday, January 23, 2011

long lost friends

So, it has apparently been a couple of weeks since I wrote a post. It is not for a lack of thinking about posts, but a lack of knowing what to write. Until today that is.

Earlier this week I had lunch with a friend that I went to Briercrest with. It was really good to see each other and catch up on where life has taken us in the 5-1/2 years since we last saw each other at graduation. We reflected on some of the good times we had together at Briercrest. And talked about where we had been in terms of job, friends, relationships, etc since then. And reflected on how, despite living relatively close to one another we live, we have not seen each other in all this time.

Since we had lunch I have been reflecting on things a bit. It seems as though email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. have made it easier to stay connected with people. My friend and I had communicated some through those methods over the years - our lunch meeting was even planned entirely through Facebook - but there is something that comes from sitting across the table from someone and really talking that we had missed in the recent years of it only being over the Internet that we connected. Something that was only found again when we sat down face to face to talk.

Now, for those who remember a post of mine from earlier this month about how I do see online community as being authentic, I will stand by that. I do believe that it can be authentic. But, I also believe that it can never take the place of being physically present with people. We need to have those people who can get in our lives and in our way sometimes to get our attention turned to what is really important. We cannot go through life with only online communication being our way of connecting to other people.

This point was driven home to me this Christmas. For the first time ever, one of my sisters was not here for Christmas. It just did not work out for her and her husband to make it here for Christmas this year. So, we used skype to talk on Christmas, and to see each other via our webcams, but it really was not the same. Seeing the two of them on the other side of the computer screen just did not seem the same as it would have to have them physically sitting at the same dinner table or on the same couch. It was great to "see" them and talk to them, and definitely better than not at all, but something was missing. And that something was physical presence.

I guess in the last while I have been reminded of the importance of having people in your life who give the gift of presence to you and who you give that gift to. Because it truly is a gift to give someone when you are physically present in their life - in the good and the bad.

Who can you give the gift of your presence to today?

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