I am sitting by the side of the river in my home town in Quebec, sipping a glass of wine from France while talking with a colleague in Northern B.C. and another one in Scotland. The friend in Scotland has finished dinner while I am just thinking of what to make. The friend in B.C. is barely finished lunch. A canoe goes by transporting a couple from Spain (I know because I met them earlier). Ooops, excuse me, a friend from Ireland is skyping ...
That’s what it is like these days – and never mind things like facebook or the nether worlds of online lives and identities, where people wander around in the virtual presence of friends from other parts of the world in the new world they have created.
Everyone is so connected these days – oh, don’t worry, I won’t go into a long ramble about how it used to take a week to get a note from my great aunt Betty (although it did) or how we used to wonder for weeks what our friends were up to (although we did).
Perhaps in those other times, especially when looking back and comparing then to now, we did not realize that we were as connected then as we are now – perhaps, dare I say – even more so.
Last month I had the opportunity to visit a small community Child and Youth Care program in another country. Because of the location they were not “connected constantly” as I might be sitting here. But as we talked and explored the world of helping kids, we realized just how connected we really are not the fast superficial connection of a brief email (although those are fine and wonderful moments), not the quick connection of Skype or MSN, although I do enjoy those as well. Rather we were, although unknown to one another before that day, connected differently, deeper somehow. It was like a connection of kin, relatives joined through values and beliefs and a commitment to something beyond the day to day of our lives. It was as if we have known each other for a long time, and would for a long time to come. It was as if we “belonged in connection”. And indeed we do.
Isolated from other preoccupations, disconnected from the internet, separated from the rush of the cell phones, we had only ourselves and plenty of time to talk, be together and enjoy. Just like the “old days” when it took time to write, time to walk over to a friend's house, time to sit and enjoy the sky.
Seemed more real somehow – and older.
I liked it.
Go for a walk with a friend.