It's funny how the beauty and the creepy part of social media is that you can be "friends" with people on Facebook or follow others on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Tumblr and potentially never see them in real life or see them very rarely in the flesh.
And so it is that I find myself "friends" with many people (900 or so) who are mutual friends of my childhood, highschool, undergrad, graduate school, professional working days, volunteer organizations, parish extensions, social justice missions or political interest groups.
I don't find it particularly odd that we've never met or may never meet. Most of us are in similar life stations...married/committed to partners, parents, middle-aged, runners, writers, crazies just trying to make it through life.
I like looking at pictures of their family, following their adventures and I'm thankful when they support me through mine.
And so, it wasn't odd, but a bit surreal, when upon arriving at the park with my kiddos this morning, I saw in person for the first time, a Facebook friend I've never met other than online. I've long been a fan of his. He and his beautiful wife are parenting I think it's 7 kiddos...oh no, I can't remember now, I just know that they took up the entire row of swings at the park and he was single-handedly pushing them all through the air.
He posts hysterical antics that happen around their home and different than me, seems to roll with it all like it's nothin but a thang. In fact, while we were chatting it up, one of his little guys took a tumble off the swing, only to get up and have another swing clock him in the face. Instead of yelling, screaming, and freaking out (my modus operandi), he simply reached down, picked up his hysterical little one and made him feel better. Such a cool dad.
Often, people lament about all of the bad things about Facebook...the ways in which it's taking our identity and using it to rule the world...why it reformatted its functions to make our lives miserable yet again...why it seemingly works fine on our laptops, but sucks on our mobile devices...
For me, a stay-at-home mama of three little crazies, it makes me feel connected. It lets me know that other people are just trying to do the best that they can do too. It gives me notice when someone has something to celebrate or needs a note because something tragic has come across their path.
Because of our busy schedules, it's unlikely that this Facebook friend and I will cross paths again...but it was good to see the virtual world of Facebook meet the physical world of my community park and to know that we're all just livin the dream...giving one kids' boo boo a hug at a time.