Taking and Giving

When I discovered blogging when my daughter was born almost six years ago, I thought it was purely a medium that helped families who were geographically separated from staying in touch. It was a mass email made even easier and you could personalize it to look and feel (and contain) whatever you want. I started to find that women, in particular, were using these blogs to encourage other women, or inform other women, about their social and religious ideas. I read [past tense](and read [present tense]…I love English!) many interesting ideas and I’ve come to adopt several of them as my own. In the last two years, largely born out of reading informative blogs and in turn researching and becoming convinced, I’ve changed churches, changed wardrobes, changed Bibles, and changed my opinion on the fundamental relationships between men and women and their respective places in the world, home, and church. And I am continuing to learn new things or be challenged in other ways.

I don’t dare say that these changes were solely because of a blog, because I believe that these changes were God-inspired and align with God’s will for me in my life. Realize, that I have a set of sinful characteristics that I’ve been dealing with since I was a child, but now that I’ve been rebirthed into the family of God, as a parent, God is going to work on those characteristics that He finds unpleasing.

However, though all this self-revelation over the past few years, I’ve come to dislike blogging, and facebook, and twitter, and even email! What I am finding is that these electronic forums offer you the idea that you are connected-that someone is listening to you and cares, but you have no proof. It takes no effort to stay “involved” in people’s lives on facebook. Have a baby? Post a picture- that serves as your announcement. Big life change? Make a short quip on your possibilities/good fortune/new purchase and you don’t have to worry about calling everyone to inform them personally.

The crux of the matter for me is how terribly impersonal these forms of contact are. Sure, they are great for staying in touch with strangers, one of my favorite authors has a blog that I love reading. I love getting cool craft tips from some of the other blogs and I truly love being encouraged in my more conservative roles by women who have “been there, done that.” Some days it really helps. However, it does cause one to take, but never give. In a normal, healthy relationship, there is always an exchange which is what is lacking in these electronic communications. I feel completely introverted on facebook- the posts require me to find something fun and quirky to say in a way that is out of my comfort zone. I love communication and I am very talkative but I still want a simple group of friends that I write letters to because letters require sitting down and responding. They are cheap, easily customizable, and though the mail is not delivered four times a day like in Jane Austen’s time, it is still delivered daily. You can easily enclose photographs or other mementos and details that you would never post on facebook. You develop a relationship. Plus, it is fun to receive something in the mail that is not a bill.

Anyone want to be my pen pal?