On any given day, I correspond with roughly fifteen to twenty people on the internet. I get emails from a variety of friends and family, some of whom I have not seen in person for decades. This past summer I chatted instantly with a daughter in Ireland and a sister in Tanzania. I have a soft spot in my heart for the readers of this blog, many of whom I have never met, yet consider as my friends.
Truly the internet is a magical “place.” Aside from the invention of the printing press, I would venture to say that the internet has changed the way we communicate more than any other invention. We don’t have to wait weeks after someone gets home from Europe for them to process their slides and invite us over for a travelogue; we can see their photos online that same day. News doesn’t arrive by letter two weeks after the fact anymore; we get it in an email as it’s happening. Don’t want to fork over money to the newspaper boy when he comes collecting? Just hop on the paper’s website instead.
And yet…I wonder.
Do we have all these conveniences at a price?
Yesterday, a friend told us that our next door neighbor had been killed in a horrific workplace accident. A young man got up, went to work, and never came home. One moment he was working on a piece of machinery and in an instant he was dead.
None of us get up in the morning knowing that this day is the end of the line. We’ve all been admonished over and over to live each day as if it was our last, and yet most days go by in a blur. We focus on trivia and leave the important things undone. We get our news online instead of over the back fence.
What was my response when our friend told us of our next door neighbor’s death?
“What was his name?”