Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Below The Surface

On the surface we are pristine and beautiful. On the surface we chat and laugh and share insignificant details and frustrations. We might even be so lucky as to find like minded individuals that we have occasion to dip a bit below the water spiders with. But then we make ripples in the network. Networks don't like ripples so much, and they detest waves.

Networks: school,work, church, neighborhoods, etc., are great for some light social interaction. A place to feel comfortable and like you belong, until your life starts to look a bit different from the acceptable surface, and then things get interesting. Networks ask us to provide a narrow piece of ourselves and suppress the rest. The network will deliver efficiency in some limited aim. This fragmentation creates diminished humanity.

I get judged, a lot, since the birth of my 5th child. His disease has changed my ability to be what others want from me on the surface. I can't split myself apart well enough to achieve network greatness while remaining whole for myself and family. It's painful to recognize how shallow one's associations sometimes are within the context of a network. Even more painful is the realization that what you thought was a community is really a network. A fabulous network, but a network nonetheless.

Even families fall prey to network superficiality and forgo the true community aspect intended to strengthen and build up the individual. "Good fences make good neighbors" Mending Wall byRobert Frost. It is okay to create a sanctuary wherein we can thrive.

Communities on the other hand are collections of souls who find significant meaning in their associations. They offer opportunity for true growth and development of the whole person. Highest quality of life is promoted through engagement and participation over time and in all human variety, the good the bad and the ugly.

Society is lacking in true community these days. We run around joining groups and social networks hoping to fill a void. Strange isn't it that the void just keeps getting bigger and the problems grow from slight crevasses to chasms, seemingly overnight.

My husband was present for a discussion recently that went like so, Question: "How can we determine each other's spiritual needs?" Answer: "We don't have friends anymore. We don't know each other anymore." A bit later a younger gentleman chimed in telling frustrated tales of he and his wife trying to get to know neighbors and make friends in their new environment. His summation was: "We don't have friends, we have FaceBook! We don't have neighbors, it's awkward."

I get teased for my long voicemail messages and "too personal" and detailed e-mails, blog posts, and conversations. I am desperate for community and I seek it everywhere. Some take the bait and join me in my community of depth. Thank you :)

Dumbing Us Down, John Taylor Gatto


Angela Dougherty said...

I love this post. It is an amazing, freeing feeling to feel connected on a deeper level. I'll join you there :)

Amy said...

Thanks and yippee! :) Feel free to leave your deep thoughts in e-mails or comments, I love it!