I tweet. I connect with people on facebook. I link up with business colleagues on LinkedIn. Some I have physically connected with recently. Others I have not seen for years, if ever. I am not alone. My 200 plus facebook connections are miniscule when compared to those that have connections extending into the thousands. As my virtual communities expand, I am confronted with a harsh reality that has existed across the centuries.
I do not connect connect with everyone. I do not know about you, but some conversations are not ones that I identify with. Sometimes it is a simple thing. I do not understand the words or the context. The language is English, but it could just as easily be Mandarin or Finnish. I have no idea what is being said!
On other occasions, the conversation does not make sense. It could be their context or mine. For whatever reason, we are talking in a way that the other does not understand. My humor is not theirs. I cannot relate to their criticisms. Whatever the reason, their reflection seems trivial or mine not relevant.
The good news is that the problem is not new. Centuries ago, Paul “got to know some of the Epicurean and Stoic intellectuals pretty well through these conversations. Some of them dismissed him with sarcasm: ‘What an airhead!’ But others, listening to him go on about Jesus and the resurrection, were intrigued: ‘That’s a new slant on the gods. Tell us more.’” (Acts 17.18)
It is a hard lesson for me to remember.
At times, I will connect with others, yet it will not be always. Each connection is a gift.
There is no automatic relationship between a connection and the value of the content (for either party).
Connecting is something that happens in the context of a time and place. It is greater than those involved.
Reaching out involves risk. It is a part of living, an even greater risk.
Life is defined by the connections in our lives. We choose how we live.
Today is an invitation to connect.