Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Lost Art of Personal Communication

Observation #3 - fasting from Facebook may not be hard, but I'm surprised and saddened to find it makes for a lonelier existence. 

On January 31st, I posted that I would be signing off Facebook with the exception of the occasional blog post, for the next 29 days.  I wished a happy birthday to all those celebrating in February since I wouldn't be able to do that on the actual day - I confess I have no idea when most of my friend's birthdays are without the aid of Facebook - and I also mentioned my fast from sweets and my determination to check email much less frequently.

Perhaps there was a misunderstanding.  I'm wondering if friends thought I was removing myself from all contact, because calls, emails, and even texts have been very few and far between.  Maybe some didn't see my post and continue to write to me on the site thinking I'm ignoring them.  Or maybe, just maybe, when I was constantly on Facebook, I didn't realize that those other types of communication had already dwindled off.

Anyone remember the good 'ol days of writing letters?  Or at the very least, sending a paper card through the US mail other than during the holidays?  How about using your phone to talk on instead of as a gaming device, alarm clock, web browser or whatever apps are capable of doing these days.  Even emails have given way to texting, Facebook messaging and Tweets.  Why is that?  Our interactions have become shorter and shorter.  Facebook statuses can't exceed 420 characters, a standard text message can't exceed 160 characters, and Tweets are 140 characters or less.  

I recently found a card my mother sent me.  She died from breast cancer that spread to her lungs and eventually her brain, more than 25 years ago.  To see her handwriting, and read the words of encouragement and pride that were in that card brought tears to my eyes.  There was a connection there warmer and more personal than any email she might have sent had it been around 25 years ago.  It was a piece of her. 

Last week, a sweet, thoughtful friend sent me a kids' valentine card in the mail.  It brought a smile to my face after a tough day.  It only took her a minute I'm sure to sign it, put a stamp on it and stick it in the mail...but those few seconds made my day. 

A co-worker has been working from home for some time after suffering from some health issues that make it difficult to come into the office.  Every week or so, I give her a call.  We chat about her health, what's going on in the office, what's not going on in our 'love lives' or the weather.  We're not solving global warming or world hunger, just making a human connection - real voices that communicate concern, share laughter, offer encouragement.  Before we hang up, she always says 'I love you my friend, you're the only one who calls anymore.'  Guess she's out of sight, out of mind for most.  It breaks my heart.

Last night, I went to church for a brief meeting.  One of the women there was a friend I haven't talked to in some time.  We chatted in the parking lot so long, I suggested we go to grab something at a local diner.  We talked until midnight.  She's been going through a lot of tough times - things that you don't post on social media, but things that need to be shared to have the prayer support of friends.  Sometimes, you just have to sit down face to face.

As I've been experiencing the loneliness of my Facebook fast I realize several things.  First, I unplugged, but I'm waiting for people to reach out to me.  I need to do some reaching out of my own.  Second, now that I'm aware how much of my socialization is coming from Facebook, I see how impersonal many of my interactions have become.  Third, there's no reason that the absence of a web site from my online vocabulary should cause me to be lonely.  I'm going to dig out my writing paper, encouragement cards, and a few pens.  At least once a week, I can invest 44 cents in a friendship.  Better yet, I can certainly carve out an hour here and there in my busy schedule to sit down with a dollar cup of coffee and have a conversation...live and in person. 

I'm excited at the prospect of resurrecting the lost art of personal communication, and I hope it's something that I will be able to make part of my regular routine.  I'm sure if I PLAY Words With Friends a little less so that I can HAVE words with friends a little more, my life will be the richer for it.


  1. Beautifully written and oh so true. I am glad we had that one on one breakfast BD celebration. IL had such a great time and it was uplifting considering the semi-stressful times we have been going through over the past coupld of weeks (month) withe the accident, thyroid situation, personal friend situation, slow, (pin in the butt computer) helping to get me behind in my work reporting (as well as my own laziness and out-of-the-routine thingy). After I got home from our escapades, my neighbor and IL went to visit a former neighbor who is currently in South One Rehab here in Toms River. We had such a nice face-to-face visit with her and was encouraged to see her progress. When we got home, Mr. Clem had the lamp all put together and later tonight I got it in place and it looks perfect! So happy you went to Wal-mart and was still there when I finished with my conference call! YAY! Great blog posting and such a way with words you have my dahling!!! :) <3 ya

    1. Thanks Char - it was nice getting together for sure. Sorry you've been going thru a rough time lately, but glad you were able to pay the 'personal touch' forward as it were by visiting your former neighbor and encouraging her :)

  2. Yes, your thoughts resonate with me, Toni. I have failed miserably with my own fast as well as on again- off again facebook relationship. I think reaching out and writing a few cards and notes is a great idea. I also try to do that because I agree and believe it is becoming a lost or less convenient art form as anything without the satisfaction of immediate gratification can be at this time. Personal communication is good regardless, in various forms and grace in all things is wise. A well thought through written reminder and challlenge.

    1. I fasted in the Fall and was not as successful that time. In fact, I think that 'failure' was in part what pushed me to try again. I knew I wanted some deeper time with God, and I knew this was a good way to get it even though my commitment was less than stellar last time. I think fasting, like anything else we do, gets better with continued practice. And I think just like we can read the same passage in the Bible a dozen times and come away with something different each time, fasting never brings the same experience - it's a growth thing :) So don't say you've failed miserably...you've learned what not to do, or to do better next time! It's just another 'less'on Dawn :)

  3. You've definetly hit on something here, Toni. IF FB is our standard interaction, it is certainly a lonely world. Your forced abstinence from FB has helped you glean this truth. Thanks for sharing. I'm thinking less FB time is good for all of us! Good ol' fashioned communication takes time and care. Can't grow relationships in 420 characters or less! LOL Diane I

  4. I think this is a great perspective!! and Facebook friends aren't really friends anyway!

  5. Thanks 'mom', but while some FB friends aren't 'real' friends, I'd say close to half of mine are church friends - FB can be a great ministry tool for me (granted, it's not always used that way :) I think that's why I was surprised at the lack of communication - not that I didn't hear from my friend's friend who has a friend lol, but from people that I am in communication with fairly often - just didn't realize how often that only took place on FB!