Monday, February 2, 2009

Blurring the Lines

Today was a depressing day.

Not because I went to bed last night and woke up this morning suffering from some mini-bug that made me feel nauseous and dizzy.

Not because I was late to school and my partner had to call the kids in for announcements before I could get there. (Sorry, boss. See above.)

Not because it was Monday.

Not because it was rainy and overcast.


Today was depressing because one someone I know lost a baby. Yes. Lost, as in died.

What's strange is that I found out about this tragic event virtually. That is, on twitter.

This person...this mother...I've never met her before. I don't know where she lives. I don't even know her last name. I only know of her because she decided to "follow" me on twitter. After seeing she was a soon-to-be mommy, I decided to recriprocate. I've read her blog, commented on her new haircuts, replied when some freak was leaving her harrassing comments, and smiled with nostalgia when her tweets told of her pregnancy and preparing for the baby's arrival.

This was not someone I felt like I could really say I was "friends" with, but she was a person to me...not just a random status update. Now, as a friend of hers has been keeping the twitter and blogger communities up-to-date on her tragedy, I have grieved right alongside with them. My heart has been sad all day for her and her family. For her tiny baby boy.

Then, I step away from my sadness and look at how amazing this is. How amazing the human heart is that I can hurt so deeply for someone I've never met. This "virtual" world is, in fact, real.

Often we think of technology as isolating. As a result of technology, we live in a global society that requires people to move far away from their family and friends. People in grocery stores talk on their cell phones to someone miles away, rather than chatting with the check-out girl. People in Panera or Starbucks bury their faces in their laptops, rather than smiling at their neighbor at the next table. People work alone in their homes, rather than office communities, because...they can.

I have come to disagree, though. We are connecting, just in a different way, to different people. The internet has brought me into the homes and lives of others, and allowed them into mine. The internet has given the world a glimpse through the windows of their home. We are guests in each others' lives.

Watching someone suffer through such a life-changing event has made a mark on mine. I am reminded of other friends who have lost babies. I am reminded of a mother who lost a nearly grown daughter. I am reminded of my grandmother who has lost two sons, and my great grandmother who lost three babies, nearly 80 years ago. I am reminded of the days when I was pregnant and nervously awaiting the arrival of my babies. I am reminded of the nightmare that I shared with every other expectant mother -- the nightmare that this poor mother is now living.

That could have been me.

Today, the lines between "real life" and "virtual" were blurred. As I cry real tears for this unfamiliar mother and unknown son, I have watched that inked line streak and run. There is no such thing as "virtual emotions". Life is real, no matter how you write it.


  1. I cried for her too. Sobbed, actually. And I had to do it while hugging my 10 month old and thanking God and feeling guilty for my joy all at the same time. I've met great friends on Twitter, and I thank God for that lifeline that it gives all of us too.

  2. I really like this post, Jenny, and I agree with what you're saying. I actually feel a lot less isolated because of technology. I mean, look how it has reconnected so many of us. In fact, I think I probably know you better now than I ever did in high school, if that makes sense. Thanks for sharing this story with us.

  3. That is sad but I agree with what you're saying. I have "met" so many incredible people on the 'net since I've been blogging and reconnecting with people I thought were lost forever (YOU!) through Facebook. I'm loving all this new technology and can't wait to see what's next for all of us.

  4. To all three of you ladies, I agree. Leigh, I slept with my Littlest Princess last night (in part, because she fell out of the bed and was very upset), but took more than a moment to give thanks for all that I enjoy each day. Cheryl, I, too, feel like I am more in touch and closer to some people (you) than ever before in the "real world". Mama Dawg, Amen! Facebook has been the best class/school/work/LIFE reunion I could ever imagine. :)

  5. I am with you on this one too Jenny. One of the biggest blessings of my life is my ability to empathize with other people. I watch the news and cannot help but put myself in the middle of it all, knowing that I could have been that person, or I have been that person. And you ache the way you can only assume they might ache, only you know that whatever you are feeling, cant compare to what they are going through. It reminds you how precious and wonderful this life is. But I have also learned that I cannot get too emotionally sucked in, because it is not my journey. God has a journey for me, of trials and victories I am meant to endure and overcome. They are there specifically for me, as part of my life's lessons. I have in the past took on others pain to such an extent that it affected my own life too much and threw everything out of wack for threw me into deep depressions. Not saying that will happen to you. Just pointing out the good and the bad of our gift.


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