"I love sitting in my living room on a gray, rainy day reading FB and feeling like my friends and relatives are near and knowing a little bit of what they are up to. I know it's a counterfeit form of intimacy, but it beats only seeing y'all at reunions and funerals!"
That got my attention.
This friend was, for years, My Best Friend. And then life scattered us willy-nilly. We've reconnected through Facebook.
Is cyber friendship real? I had thought about this before. I have made lifetime friends on an Internet group called Whippet World. I have gotten to know people through their blogs, and through their comments on this blog. I care about these folks. I miss them when I'm not able to communicate in cyberland. (Too much of that going around lately!)
I think I get to know the hearts of these online friends. Their very center. I've revealed things about myself on my own blog that would be nearly impossible to talk about in real life, except with my husband or My Best Friend. And I have stared at my computer, covering my mouth to hold in a sob as I read of a bad diagnosis received by a wonderful man in another country. Oh no, oh no, oh no. I have leaked tears all over one of my worried dogs when I read that someone I've never met has lost a pet. I'm so very, very sorry, I write. I will hold you in my heart.
There is time to sit, to reflect, and to delete. We can distill.
Of course, we all know that anonymity of cyberspace also brings out the very ugliest of human conversation. Which is I guess the dark side of all this good.
Because I think it is good that whole communities are out there, being present to each other. Showing that they care. Listening. Pouring out their hearts and allowing me to care. Making me smile and laugh. Sitting alone in my little sewing/computer room laughing so hard that I have to get up and pee.
I imagine pen pals of the 1800's. Distant cousins, or long-separated acquaintances. Casual friendships which deepened. Sharing intimacies in their letters, which were shared with none of their real friends.
I think it all comes down to the power of the written word. And our power to care.
So let me quote my wise friend again.
"I love sitting in my living room on a gray, rainy day reading FB and feeling like my friends and relatives are near and knowing a little bit of what they are up to."
hug your hounds and your Internet friends