Used to be we knew the people around us.  We knew our neighbors.  The Barnes next door?  We used to go to their back door, year round, and say “trick or treat”.   Just for a little treat.   The family next to us had nine kids.  We knew which families were Catholic, and which were not.  It didn’t matter if they weren’t, we just knew because we talked to one another.  We saw one another.  We gossiped about one another.  Our world was in front of us.  Near us.

Now, the world is literally at our fingertips.

We all know the internet is fraught with negative and nasty.

 But like all super powers, if used with consideration, thought and positive purpose – it opens our world to one another.

We ‘meet’ people without ever seeing them.  We ‘talk’ to them without ever hearing the sound of their voice.  We know when they are feeling poorly without having a clue as to their physical well being.  Through our tippity tappity method of chatting on blogs and other social mediums we can literally get a daily dose of worlds never so easily shared before.

We share our dinner ideas.  Our parenting ideas.  Our ridiculous personal behaviors.  Our excitement at successes.  Our fear of our failures.

And we get to know one another in a very distant, and yet often times honest and real, way.

I wonder how my friends are in Ecuador, Canada, Australia, Philippines,  Wales, England, Ireland, California, Iowa, Oregon and Washington, Italy, Greece, .   How is your aging father?  How is your young son doing with the next phase of his life, his first step in to adulthood?   How is your mum since she fell?  How did that new job interview go?

All around the world there are people.  Oh so simple – to know that we already knew that.  But now, we can know a life so far away.

And we wonder.

We are curious.

We are interested.

We are connected through our words.

And we realize that a very personal world is being lived by over 7 billion others in over 7 billion very personal ways.

And then…

They are gone.

I can liken it somewhat to reading a book.  A good book.  A book that grabs your interest and your imagination.  You can’t wait to finish it.  Then you do.  And once you finish the book – that’s it.  No more involvement with that world.  You could re-read it if you wanted to.  But you don’t glean any new information.   It’s not even always possible to recapture what it was you got from the book the first time.  You finish the book and your imagination may take you further.  But you just don’t know.  You put the book down and that’s it.

But here, ….there’s a connection.    We comment.  We discuss.  We laugh or we disagree.  We carry on past the reading.

We are a connected world.

To real people.

And real people live real lives.  Real lives we don’t, and shouldn’t expect, to have access to.  But like reading a great book and loving the characters…. it’s difficult to not wonder about, hope for, and cheer for – the people we read.

And the people we miss reading.

Where ever they are.