Meeting yourself on the internet
As fate would have it, I came across my own blog post on the internet this morning.
It’s kinda of weird. Like passing a store front window and catching a glimpse of yourself. You stop. Suck in your stomach, run a hand through your hair, and stare at your imperfect reflection.
Anyway, the post, which I wrote two years ago, holds up more than ever for me today. And maybe for you.
You and I have our own troubles yet maybe we fail to realize or even fail to take time to realize that our troubles poke and sting and crush people who love us the most.
Unlike two years ago, we’re now living in a time of social distancing. A time of removing ourselves from the community in order to assure our safety. This is weird. Unnatural. I understand it, but we were not meant to live like this. To dust off a 16th-century poet John Donne line, “No man is an island.” (Boom…there’s that over-priced English degree paying off!)
Anyway, we need people. We need to share our troubles with others. Not in an egocentric way, I-need-sympathy kinda of way. But in a egoless, I-can’t-do-this alone kind of way.
So when I came across my own writing about how we’re all interconnected and affected by individual suffering– I was feeling alone. You know the drill: we get quite, we avoid eye contact, we pout, we pretend we’re busy, we lack desire to do anything but feel sorry for ourselves.
That’s where I was this morning.
And then the internet took my hand, lead me pass Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, and Youtube and to my own blog and to an old post I wrote two years ago.
I read it. Shook my head. And said, “Damn you “ghost of blog post past!” Why do you always have to be right?,” aloud as if someone was sitting there with me.
Though these are socially distant times, they’re not emotionally distant times. Let us not forget that. (I just ended a sentence with “that”. An abomination to the writing craft. Take “that” over-priced English degree!)
Anyway, bottom line: we need each other today more than ever before.
Here’s what I wrote in July, 2018 (the post was called “We”):
Maybe it was a slip of the tongue.
But when Cindy was talking to a friend about my recent health troubles she explained that “we” had a flare up.
The “we” was me.
And it occurred to me that my wife was dealing with my troubles as much as I was.
When we’re sick we often think we suffer in isolation. We get selfish and fall into ourselves and lash out at anyone who claims to understand.
In our troubled times we sometimes fail to recognize that the magnitude of our life stretches well beyond our knowledge. That our life, our story is a cornerstone chapter in or volume of someone else’s story.
We are still living in troubled times. We are still stressed and confused and alone.
And we still need each other.
Maybe more than ever before.
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