When’s the last time you had a deep and honest conversation? I don’t mean a discussion about the existential, political, or decisions made in life. I also don’t mean an email, blog, or text message.
When is the last time you had a meaningful conversation where you explored the depths of your heart? One where you wrestled with your past, hoped for the future, sorted through your brokenness?
I can honestly say, It’s been a long time. Yes, conversations with my wife from time to time when we are not working, cleaning, parenting. Unfortunately, even deep discussions with a spouse aren’t givens.
We create giant social circles. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TicToc, Reddit, and the list goes on with different platforms, all creating little communities. Groups in Facebook that provide support and connection. Social media has become a place where we can emotionally vomit (I don’t mean this negatively) and feel like just maybe someone is listening. We enter text conversation with the picture to whom we are talking to in our minds as we stare at screens with green and blue text bubbles.
These mediums are not wrong in themselves. All of these platforms can create pseudo-micro communities and allow us to connect with people we never dreamed of or at least a neighbour or long lost high school friend.
However, we must not forsake a real conversation with a real person, where we can hear the inflection in their voice, and they can see the joy/pain/triumph/sorrow in our eyes. Jonathan Grant writes,
…it raises the question of whether social media is stimulating genuine relationships or just simulating them. Are we sharing our lives with others, or are we just broadcasting them? Are we learning the rhythms of intimacy, or are we too busy pleasing the adoring crowd?
I fear it is the latter, yet we delude ourselves in believing the former. Perhaps we are innately aware of this delusion, and that’s why we are still such lonely people. The illusion of connection can be a devastating ailment. It is one that I fear has captured our current planet.
If connection is food, then Socials, text, and email are potato chips. Chips (as we like to call them in Canada) are delicious and are of the more healthy of the junk foods, after all, they are made from potatoes and potatoes are vegetables. Though they are delicious, you cannot have a diet of chips. We need actual food.
We need an actual connection with each other.
When we don’t get it, we search in other places. Russell Brand writes,
Think of it: the bliss of a hit or a drink or of sex or of gambling or eating, all legitimate drives gone awry, all a reach across the abyss, the separateness of ‘self’, all an attempt to redress this disconnect.
I believe this is why the writer of Hebrews told us not to forsake the gathering of believers. Just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit live in perfect community, so we, created in the image of the triune God, were created for community and connection. Mark Waltz points out,
“To be human is to be spiritual. To be spiritual is to be relational. We are connected, like it or not.”
We need each other. Whether we feel weak or strong, we are in this together. How can we speak to the deep recesses in others’ souls if we never have a conversation and never dare to be vulnerable enough to make a valued connection?
Your socials are fine but don’t be duped and trade for the illusion at the expense of a genuine human connection. It’s hard, but if you’re willing to invest, you’ll find it’s worth it.
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