03 September 2006

Virtual and Eternal

Communication tends to fascinate and frustrate me. It was one of my majors in college. However, the developments in the medium since graduation date me more than i care to admit. Verbal and non verbal cues, sharing a common language or attempting to communicate with signs and gestures, all demands attention and provokes the possibility of delight and sometimes frustration. My friend Karen just completed training in sign language (I know there's more official language, my apologies) which is an artform on its own. Accompanying my fascination with communication, I'm also keenly gifted in miscommunicating. In email exchanges alone, what I perceive as perfectly clear can be "read" as completely different than my intent. It's often cause for regret and retracing steps. Ugh.

Communicating with a friend yesterday, we discussed how virtual conversations can be more real and perhaps even more transparent than face to face encounters. So, in the spirit of that observation, I tho’t I’d post this entry in my blog. ☺ I wondered if the consideration of words and composing of thoughts via email or other virtual places allows for editing and deleting, and perhaps generally better communication. But does that come at the expense of less significant face to face discussions? Do we resort to discussions about weather, television plotlines, and perhaps (if we're bold) political positions and forfeit depth or even transparent cries regarding basic needs or longings in our hearts and lives? Do we hide the real joys and pains of life we’ve reflected on in a safer, perhaps less threatening environment such as email or by blogging? Is it less real to post something in a blog? Do our face to face daily conversations suffer as a result? Or do we simply not have the time in our frantic schedules to go deep in face to face settings? No answers...just musing aloud, er, online.

In the category of eternal, I'm so thankful to honor my grandmother today. Three years ago we buried her, just before her 99th birthday. Thus if she were still alive, we’d celebrate her 102nd birthday today. [The picture (credit Hildred, again) is our nieces at Grandpa and Grandma's tombstone in South Dakota.] But I celebrate her life. She impacted lives beyond her life. I miss her lively brown eyes...and much more!! Miss u Grandma. Love thinking of you and Jesus and Grandpa together.


beth said...

I think that there are definite advantages to the written word as opposed to the spoken. I always romanticize the days when letters were the primary means of communication- real thought was put into them and I do think sharing the heart is easier when you don't have to look into someone's eyes. There is another side to this question on on-line life though. For some, this is how they are being socialized, which isn't really equipping them for interaction with actual people, and for some other poor souls, this is their community- they don't have anyone to share with face to face. Is that bad? More like sad, in my opinion. I love being able to read what's in your heart, but I also know that I have many opportunities to do the same thing in person. If I ignore or avoid those face to face times and interact with you by the internet solely, then I'm not really enjoying the true community that God intends. And I need to learn to be more open and vulnerable in person too. The written word can be a helpful and useful tool in moving toward that, but I don't believe it can end there.

Jewels said...

John loves to communicate by e-mail because you can get straight to the point and get the job done. I always like to get the voice inflections, tone of voice, etc. to get to the true meaning of what's being said, but I would rather write than talk so I can think :)
I loved to get letters back in the olden days, and blog comments are kind of like that!

karla said...

i like the internet so that i can tell you how i MEANT to tell you i loved you in person, but it just couldn't come out....hence, the "i do love you, friend" on-line.