Virtual Reality

Remember the days of AIM?  We could sit at our computer and let our fingers do the chatting.  We could be in our pajamas with no make-up and hair pulled up, chatting with the boy from fourth period and still seem really cute.  I think that’s where it started; this idea of communicating (don’t get me started about miscommunicating) without ever having to actually talk to each other.  And Facebook (back then MySpace) gives us the power to display our lives in pictures and status updates and yes…. there’s even a chat option! And then there’s Google Chat.  Heaven forbid we get up from our desks and go talk to someone when we can just message them.  We can “chat” on our phones with text messenging.  We never have to actually pick up the phone and call anymore or get in the car and stop by their house.
I’m guilty!  In fact, I could easily be the most guilty.  I answer the phone all day long at work, I’m not dying to talk on one come five o’clock either.  I too am I fan of just texting “running five minutes late” instead of spending those five minutes calling and explaining myself beforehand just to be ten minutes late instead.  I like that I can edit what I say multiple times before hitting send.  Maybe I can filter things a little better that way, right?
The thing is though, as convenient as living in that virtual world can be sometimes, it’s not reality.  The reality is, I meant that text sarcastically and you took it seriously.  Or you meant it matter of factly and I felt like you were yelling.  All because the tone and facial expressions aren’t present.  The reality is, we aren’t building genuine relationships with each other anymore.  We’re letting Facebook tell our good news instead.  Someone just got engaged– shouldn’t we all be jumping up and down, squealing with them?  It’s your birthday and your phone’s blowing up with text messages.  Wouldn’t you rather hear “Happy Birthday” sung off key by your closest friends instead?  Your grandmother passed away and I missed it.  I missed it because instead of being in your world lately– I was counting on Facebook to keep me updated and it didn’t.
We get in the same room with people that we claim to be really good friends with and when it’s all over– we wonder if anyone heard a word that was said because everyone was texting someone else or logging online with laptops, ipads, and cell phones.  Maybe we never actually replied to the folks texting us, but we were at least distracted by the buzzing in our pockets or the chime from across the room and the person on the couch next to us is fighting back tears and we missed it.  My fear is that we’ve allowed ourselves to be so busy with a gamut of things, that we’re losing the ability to genuinely be in relationship, in community, in daily life with each other.
Many of you have messaged me lately wanting to know where I’ve been with my blog posts.  I love that you are faithful readers!  I look forward to the day when  I meet you face to face and autograph my first book for you.  Wouldn’t that be fun? 🙂  Ha!  Seriously though, there’s a part of me that really wants to write the thing that changes someone else’s world; have a book published that does more than serve as coaster.  Most of me though, would really rather slide in a booth across from you and really dive into your world.  And let you into mine.
I’m afraid I’m losing the ability to be really honest with the people that I’m sitting in front of, because I’ve either already said it in a blog post or Facebook status.  Or the opposite.  I haven’t fleshed it out with a keyboard, so I can’t possibly be ready to tell you about it yet.  I need to sort it out, organize my thoughts, and then “talk”.  Sometimes, the most honest moments, are the ones that aren’t well thought out.  I’m attempting to scale back on texting too.  If you know me, you know that’s a big deal!
We were created for relationship.  For this girl, that means quality time and physical touch.  So the reality is, virtual relationships don’t work for me.  I struggle to believe you really want to be in my world if aren’t near each other.  (I know, I know… but I’m busy.  It’s easier to text with you while I’m cooking dinner or in between plays of the game.  Why can’t we make more time for each other?)  And I struggle to speak gifts, words of affirmation and acts of service (for those of you that aren’t fluent qt/pt people) when it doesn’t feel real.
So… that’s where I’ve been.  I don’t want folks to use my blog (or Facebook or texting) as a substitute for being in genuine relationship with me.  And I don’t want to replace you with the virtual world either.  I’d rather we actually know each other instead…

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