My friend Ken Mueller from Inkling Media is always touting the praises of social networks and telling everyone – via social media – about all the friends he’s made through Facebook or Twitter. I know exactly what he means. I find lots of friends – both old and new – through these media, and I love it.
But it hasn’t been until recently, when my mom got sick, that I’ve started seeing the way these media can be a real support system. When I posted – out of desperate hope – a prayer request on Facebook, dozen of people responded. Friends of my mom’s have turned up in messages in my inbox after they saw through friends that Mom was ill. I get emails and IMs (and now Skype messages – just joined today) from friends of mine and my family’s saying that they are praying and thinking of us. I feel very loved.
Still, it is the human connections that are the most valuable at times like this. We are all leaning hard into the people who surround us so that we can support each other the best we can. Today, my mom’s friend is at my parents’ house cleaning out their fridge to make way for fresh, healthy food for both of them. Other friends have fed the dog, cleaned the house, brought casseroles and custards. People stop by to do woodworking with Dad while Mom is resting. These are the real social networks. And never before have I realized how much I – WE – need them.