Digital Deliverance

If you’ve been following for a while, you might remember that February is a hard one for me. I usually find myself in the slump of the season. So I tend to hibernate from most activity and my mind takes a break. And with our recent events, my energy was devoted to my family. But here I am. Getting back on track and ready to rock. I think.

 

Back in the day……because yes, I am now old enough that I can utter those aging words with legitimacy…when someone you knew and loved was sick or diagnosed with a terminal illness, it was spread by word of mouth. Telephone. Or a mailed letter. And then followed by a hope that the recipient would send up their prayers and offer their long-distance support in whatever means they could. Today, we possess an instant system that lends itself to our aid at the click of a key. And it’s quite possibly the very best facet of our digital world.

When my oldest was two and a half, he was diagnosed with a chronic condition, endured nine months of chemotherapy, underwent various surgical procedures, suffered more needles than any child should have to tolerate and attended more doctor’s visits than I care to count. During that time, I wasn’t an active “participant” in Facebook. Social media had not yet exploded into our lives. It was hardly the everyday norm so I rarely engaged in the existing platform. We lived out of state, distant from family and close friends so I often felt alone and very overwhelmed with the circumstances. A week and a half ago, my little girl was unexpectedly hospitalized for a serious virus and infection that left us taking up a temporary residence for four days. And while it wasn’t her first hospitalization, it was the lengthiest and one that left me with very little rest. But also left me with lots of time to reflect. How very different these moments [with my children] were and how very different I felt.

A part of me hesitated to let my social media circle know what was going on. Was that something I should leave private? {Worry not, our families had a more intimate alert} But when it comes down to it, I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer and encouragement. I know that in some of our most dire of circumstances, we are beckoned to call upon the strength of our Lord and the support of our earthly tribe. And since nothing is worse than a vague online statement that begs for the breakdown, I knew that my worry and my stress needed hands to fall into. So I posted my pleas for prayers as my little girl gasped for air, cried in discomfort and nestled her weakened body into mine. And my request was instantly met with heartfelt concern and audible assurance. The buzz and hum of her monitors and the stillness of a hospital room left me with many moments to embrace the comforts of those who extended their thoughts, their prayers, their support, their encouragement and their genuine offers to help in any way {because in addition, I still had another kiddo that needed to be cared for at home and a husband who was going to be out of town}. All of it was an essential display of kindness that reminded me people can love. And they can love pretty hard when you need it most. If this cyber support had existed back when my oldest was a little one, I’m certain I may have felt more strengthened. Because it’s pretty hard to feel lifted when you feel lonely. But then again, maybe I’m just a stronger mother because I learned to carry those burdens on my own. Either way, by comparison between then and now, comfort delivered in a device really isn’t as distant as it sounds.

While there are some definite downfalls to social media, I also believe there are many aspects that offer an enhancement to our lives. Virtual support, encouragement and connecting with others during times of stress and exhaustion do amazing things for the soul. Something I recently got to experience with the utmost esteem. So, I am certain that when you use social networks for the good and not the bad, you win.

Digital Deliverance

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