I connected with Jen through Alece. It was through a video stream interview with Alece that I made my first Twitter friend in OZ. I love the how she shares her experiences over miles/kilometers of oceans. Jen’s Blog. Jen’s Twitter.
I opened my first online diary on August 17th 2004.
You have real friends too, you know
How do you know they are genuine?
How can you feel so deeply about them? You don’t know them.
He felt I was hiding myself away from “real life”. That I was hiding behind a persona… and that so was everyone else.
Lets take a look at those arguments
Firstly, we need to define real.
A couple of definitions there are
1. Being or occurring in fact or actuality
2. True and actual; not imaginary, alleged, or ideal
3. Genuine and authentic; not artificial or spurious
But the one I loved the most is
Existing objectively in the world regardless of subjectivity or
conventions of thought or language
I talked with these people on AIM (seriously, does anyone still use that? I think it died when Xanga did) all the time. We left comments on each others posts. We edified and uplifted. We mourned and rejoiced as needed. We were as authentic, if not more so, as face to face relationships. I prayed for them just as much as I did the ones I could hang out with.
I heard it mentioned once, that friends made through social media, whether by blog comments, forums or twitter (to name a few) are just the modern day pen-pals.
LOVE that. It makes so much sense.
I have a new circle of online friends now, as relationships change and graduate and do what they do, though I do have some that I am still in contact with and are still friends as ever. Same as I am no longer in contact with some people who live in my town, or went to my church, or whom I went to school with. Some hung around, others didn’t.
I have been so fortunate in the last year or so, for I have encountered some of the most godly, inspiring, authentic people I’ve ever come across, on line or in my immediate vicinity. It’s exciting to wonder why God had us all sort of discover each other around the same-ish time (though, I was a little late to the party)… and why we all fell into relationship so quickly and easily. I feel like it’s like we all found little bits of our hearts in others…
God is moving, and He’s using social media to do it.
We are being gathered. We are being called. We are being equipped. We are being encouraged. We are being sent out, in our own way, with our own stories.
There are people who are helping to guide others out of the dark. Some quietly weave stories of Jesus into everyday life. There are those who are showing that affairs don’t have to mean divorce, and those who beautifully show you how to walk when it does. Pastors and communicators have jumped on board too, knowing the far reaching benefits. Some make me laugh out loud every time, and then there are those who share their trials and pain and grief with such grace and poise it causes you to look deep into your own heart and take stock.
All these people proclaim Jesus with every press of a letter. With every tweet, every ‘publish post’.
We are creating a community of believers. There is no condemnation or fear.
I believe that’s called church.
The best thing about all of this, is that Adam has joined in.
And he didn’t just do it to spy. He converses with people, and is slowly, in his own way, building his own relationships with those whom have become so dear to me. His entering my online world meant more to me than pretty well anything he has ever done.
And now he gets it.
The rest of the series:
Jenni’s story inspires me in what community is and should be. It is a story full of grace and redemption. I’m inspired also by how she’s opened her home and heart to people she’s met on Twitter and blogging for months at a time. Jenni’s blog. Jenni’s Twitter.
I’ve always had friends. It’s always been important to me to be surrounded by people. But no matter how surrounded I was, I usually felt pretty alone. However, I believed as long as I was surrounded, then at LEAST I would look normal… whatever that means.
Besides about 5 friends, the friends I had, or use to have, around me no longer seemed interested in being around me. I’m not sure if it was because they were hurt by my decisions, didn’t want to be associated with such a public sinner or if it was because they just didn’t know what to say. Whichever way, I totally understood and counted it as a consequence to my poor choices.
I was alone. I was hurting.
But then God.
God took this time to not only reveal loving friends I never new existed, but He showed me who my real friends were. My true “besties” rose to the surface. And guess where many of us had met?
… ON EACH OTHERS BLOGS AND ON TWITTER.
These people not only prayed for Brian and my restoration, but they called, emailed, texted and encouraged us. There were days I wasn’t sure I had a friend in the world. Heck… my husband didn’t even like me. And I deserved it. And at those darkest moments, Trish or Tam would call. Or Crystal would text. Or Diane would DM me (just to name a few). And I knew…
… Though I was lonely… I wasn’t alone.
Last May, Brian and I renewed our vows. Our ceremony was intentionally VERY small. We only invited the people we felt were instrumental in our healing process. Our angels.
For the first time ever, I feel filled and surrounded more often than I feel alone. Life is SO different now.
“Human life in common is only made possible when a majority comes together which is stronger than any separate individual and which remains united against all separate individuals. The power of this community is then set up as “right” in opposition to the power of the individual, which is condemned as “brute force.”” ~ Sigmund Freud
Community has nothing to do with what is around you as much as it includes WHO has infiltrated your heart.
Community is who you let in.
Community is a reflection of you when you finally choose to be real and honest about who YOU are.
Community is what you were born to be.
The rest of the series:
I’m hosting a series this week and the first part of next on community found through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, etc.). I’m super excited about each lady that is posting here this week. They are remarkable in their own beautiful way. One I’ve met and the other five I can’t wait to. I believe that God has allowed social media to serve as a place where community is fostered. Please welcome these ladies as they share their experiences and feel free to share your thoughts each day. – Prudy
Tammy is someone I find quirky, and someone I think of as more my age than her nearly 4-0 (5 yrs of difference so I guess we’re kind of the same age). I have a great deal of respect for this lovely lady. Tam’s blog. Tam’s Twitter.
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.