I have a love/hate relationship with the Internet. I love that I can access just about anything at any time, anywhere. I hate that the Internet has created scary events like online exploitation. The creation of the World Wide Web (is it even referred to that anymore!?!) is a mixed bag of treats and treacheries. But spun into the amazing opportunities and the horrible detriments that make up the Internet, you can load up your toolbar with Unexpected Health.
The Internet is literally a web of connection, and being ‘in the know’ of your surroundings is healthy. Let me be more specific. I disliked MySpace. I thought it was a sleazy attempt of connecting friends and those who wanted to be your friend…or more. I admit it, I had an account, but I never thought much of it and was never an active user. So, imagine my reaction when this Facebook thing came out. Another excuse for “Peeping Tom’s” to peruse my personal pictures, information, and life, right? Not at all. Facebook–and other online resources for ‘webbing’ people together–is this amazingly healthy presence on the Internet. Being a part of the Facebook world has again shown me the amazing humanity I am surrounded by: I have been able to watch, pray, and encourage my high school friend’s journey with her now 2-year-old son who has been battling an extremely rare blood disease. I was able to see the faces of two parents overjoyed that their little baby had been blessed with bone marrow (from a complete stranger, I might add). I have watched as bracelets saying “Love4Liam” were made and distributed; “Team Liam” t-shirts were designed and sold to help the family. I was able to be looped into a bone marrow donor drive for this little guy to see if maybe, possibly, my bone marrow would be a match for him. And now, because of Facebook, I get to see a little boy with new bone marrow traveling through his body. His body may be bloated from the intensive chemotherapy but those little chubby cheeks are full of life. All…though…Facebook.
Last week, I was sent an invitation to be a Facebook “fan” of Support for Teddy. I had no idea what this was so when I went to the page, I saw that a family had created this for their son, Teddy. Teddy is an 8-year-old boy who has a brain tumor and is having brain surgery on February 3, 2010. This Facebook page is dedicated to all things Teddy. Fans posted pictures and stories of their cats…well, Teddy is a dog person. So, after he posted a question, wondering where all the dog lovers were?, his Facebook page was inundated with pictures, stories, and memories from all the dog lovers in the Facebook world (myself included, of course…but I also mentioned my little feline friends!). Complete strangers are writing this little boy words of encouragement; they are sharing their lives–their stories–with someone they have never even met.
We are all humanitarians. We have to be. The word does not have the same without US in it…humans. We all get that heart-tug when something, someone, or some event touches us in a way that make us fight back tears. We’re meant to. That’s what makes us human. And that’s what makes us healthy. Even if we are busy doing life, humanity shows through; even through the Internet. If we create our world to be too busy to interact–to reveal our humanity and see the humanity in others–life has a funny way of opening up a window of opportunity…and sometimes, it’s a webpage. -Until tomorrow, Jaime
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