Monday, July 13, 2009

Old Friends - New Information

My interaction with technology is a curious thing. For the most part, I accept and embrace it. Then, there's this entirely different part of me that is stunned by the changes that technology has wrought in my life.

When I got married in 1994, the internet was just beginning to be introduced to the general public. Those of us that had played on various networks (CompUServe, GEnie, early AOL, etc.) had been communicating across the miles for a lot of years. I started in 1987. In fact, I can still put my hand on the reference guide from GEnie 1987.

But, I think the most amazing thing is the acceptance of these very radical changes into our lives in a short period of time. Even simple things ... like power windows and locks in my car. It just doesn't feel like it has been all that long since we actually had to manually lock our car doors or roll the windows up and down. A compass and outside thermometer right there in my vehicle? Well, that's just weird! Cell phones don't show up in a lot of the novels I'm reading and it always startles me, because I know that the plot of the book could be totally transformed with one quick cell call. But, for books written in the 90s, they weren't commonly used and the poor victim is stuck on the side of the road with no assistance coming.

Now I'm on Facebook. I've found an incredible number of old friends. It's been overwhelming to me, sometimes a little emotional, sometimes very exciting.

When we were growing up, we spent 4-6 years in a community and then moved away. Because Dad wanted the next pastor to be able to integrate himself fully into the life of the church, we were expected to leave our friends behind and make new friends as quickly as possible. All communication was cut off pretty quickly.

That training in my early years followed me through the rest of my life. I don't think I realized it until just this year as I was finding friends again. I've managed to maintain connections to a very few friends from my past, but it is very few. There were people that I had shared deep connections with during the time we were together, but when I moved away, I allowed those connections to sever or simply wither away because all I knew how to do was move on and start over.

Though it was generally quite innocent on my part, I had probably hurt some of these people with my seeming callous behavior. I simply didn't know how to do this any differently.

As I reconnect with some of these people, I know that I am going to have to re-build trust. They may never trust me again with a friendship and I understand that. Right now I'm just glad to know they are alive and happy.

But, all of this is quite exciting. I think about (didn't experience, I'm not that old) the transformation that happened as the telegraph and later, the telephone brought to our world. People began communicating across miles and miles. Though there have been many critics of the mobile society that we have become, I am thankful for the chance to reconnect with people I thought I had lost, even if it is only in short bursts of information. That's more than I have had in 30 years with some of them and more than I probably ever would have been able to have.

Sometimes life is just fun!

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