________ followed you on Twitter today.
It’s crazy, this digital world that connects us to so many.
We connect to people relationally, making friends of strangers. We find mentors, and cheerleaders, people who applaud our success and admire our achievements. We find a community that seems true and unconditionally supportive.
All the while, we push to the corners of our mind the deep disappointment we carry about the relationships that should have been, but aren’t.
The people we’re estranged from – because – let’s be honest: we all have those people.
Fathers. Mothers. Sisters. Brothers.
We try to forget about those relationships that seem broken and fragmented beyond repair.
We push aside the hurt; we focus on what’s right in our lives; we plow forward; we work hard; we love the people closest to us; we give what we can to others.
And then, the interlopers, the ones who abandoned us — they return, to sit on the sidelines of our lives. Still distant, but observing our success.
Is it better that they’re there, or worse?
We wonder: Are they watching? Are they listening? Does it matter?
What should we do? Engage them? Ignore them?
Because, really, we’ve lived apart from them for so long.
Because, really, we’ve learned to live without them.
It hurts, of course. It hurts more than we care to admit.
To see that familiar face, but know that the distance remains.
And really, what hope is there for repair?
Could they catch up on all those missed years by reading what we write online? Could they understand us by reading our tweets? Could they know who we are now by a few photos on Facebook?
Do they feel better knowing these details of our lives?
What separates us now is not the miles, though they are far. It is not the years, though they have been long.
It is outside of words really, and, beyond explanation, but I think that if you’ve experienced it, you know what I mean.
Where there was once nothing, there is now an artificial sense of closeness. People who chose to leave us now stake a claim for connection.
Apart from healing, apart from a miracle, there is none.
* * *
Have you ever experienced this?
How do you manage awkward online connections?
This post is from Becky Robinson of Weaving Influence.