There’s no shortage of social media coverage of the protests, riots, looting, violence, and the endless finger-pointing. And I’m more guilty than most for jumping into the pool with both feet, dropping a snickers bar, and angering many of my friends. If I had to guess, I’ve probably alienated 75% of my friends to the point where they’re Unfollowing or straight up Blocking me. So if you’re reading this – thanks for hanging in there!
But I’ve been mired in the mud for too long these days. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling it quits or promising to turn over a new leaf. For now, it’s time to reflect on the good things.
A couple online conversations these last few days have reminded me how thankful I am for the internet. I’ve written similar thoughts on Fellowship 2.0 and Fellowship 3.0 previously. Guess this would be 4.0?
Most of you Millennials or younger will not remember a time before the internet or cell phones. At best in those days, you could call your friends if you couldn’t get out of the house. If your parents were wealthy, maybe you even had a party line where you could talk with more than one person at a time. But of course, back then you paid by the minute.
But the internet has made it possible for me to make friends with complete strangers from clear across the country whom I never would have otherwise met. We just made a connection. It might have been through blogging or joining a Facebook group or a trading network. But it’s amazing to see how God has put people in my life and for that, I’m truly thankful.
People sharing their ideas, their passions, their struggles, daily victories. With ME. Who am I that you would let me into your life, your heart, and your head? I’ve watched your children grow up. I’ve cheered as you had overcome some struggle or pain. I’ve prayed for you that God would heal your broken hearts and your illnesses.
I know some people criticize we share too much online. Maybe you hate seeing videos of cats or pictures of food or family vacation photos or someone writing about their latest complaint. Me? I take it all in with a grain of salt.
Even in 2020, there are still people out there trying to control the internet – the things we can say, what we can buy, services we can get, and causes we can promote or criticize. I’ve always felt that information and knowledge are worth more than gold. When someone posts some outlandish things online that make your blood boil, you are richer now because you know more about that person’s true nature than you first did. Imagine walking through life thinking that person was someone you trusted or looked up to!
And yet, with all the downside, the internet can be a tremendous vehicle for good. I’ve seen people react to a need — maybe someone is trying to pay for some medical procedure or their car broke down or they lost their job or they can’t get someone to watch their kids while they’re working their second job — and total strangers will come together to support them simply because they can empathize or they want to pay it forward or they want to share the love of Christ that someone had once shared with them.
The unrestricted internet is truly a Free Market of ideas. We exchange thoughts, quips, memes, videos, Live footage, advice, and shared experience with each other. My life is richer because these tell me a lot about YOU.
And for that, I wanted to say “Thank you”.