On the other side of the screen

by +CrystalThieringer    @cdthieringer


Cyberspace was busy on Father’s Day.

Many fantastic dads were beautifully celebrated by their kids for Father’s Day yesterday. Wonderful images of dads alone, or dads hugging daughters, golfing with sons, showing kids how to drywall and measure, and play football were everywhere. There was much joy.

On the other side of the screen, many kids who didn’t have that experience groaned and cried and maybe even slammed the laptop shut as they remembered dads that weren’t there. Maybe dads were there, but that kid was remembering how they didn’t show up to a single game. Maybe they were remembering how a hug like that still brings fear or shame or something else. Joy isn’t the word that came to mind, yesterday. Not once.

A poet, once hurt herself, reaches out to those who face a Father’s Day without a Dad, to those who are grieving the loss of one, or the missing relationship with one. Her words are kind, thoughtful, all-embracing.

On the other side of the screen, someone who slammed the laptop shut before might have offered a prayer of thanksgiving then because there were others, others who understood what it’s like to be on the other side of the screen.

An accusatory text or two or three were sent without context. “You did this!” and “This!” and “This!” they said.

On the other side of the screen, the person knew they hadn’t, and frantically texted back to say so, but it’s too easy, now, to just lob something out to cyberspace and then walk away.

Another text sent hours later, one that said “LOL, I went to church and forgot to check my phone, that’s not what I meant even though that’s what I said”, (again without context or follow-up-or-through) didn’t erase what happened on the other side of the screen in the hours in-between. How could it?

Another text flew across cyber space. “Can we talk?”

On the other side of the screen, in another time zone, a sleepy friend rolled over and said, “Sure, but I need to get coffee first.” For the next hour, laughter and kindness erased the problems of the moment. The conversation was focused and serious, almost face-to-face but not quite. Words in cyberspace.

There used to be two sides to every story. Now there are two–or two trillion–sides to every screen. The damage inflicted can be incredible, but so, too, can the connection. The question though, is why is one so easy and the other so hard? And, how can we have less of one and more of the other?




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