Saturday, August 11, 2012

Detached Contact

Welcome to our newest guest blogger, Jackie Manley!

 "No man is an island." Or, in these days, no man is a self-contained electronic unit. Many of us who have been harmed by other people in whatever way struggle to maintain a connection with others. It is not easy to reach out after we have been abused or have had our feelings dismissed. Often it is easier to just shut the door, crawl back into bed and pull up the covers; it feels good, at least temporarily, and helps us to avoid the real problems of emotional intimacy. But, as the Bible says, man is not meant to live or die to himself; God made flesh and blood people with a desire to be emotionally close to other humans and to Himself. We are not walking Ipods, self satisfied with our own internal applications; eventually, we get tired of our own company and are compelled by our God-given instincts to seek out another person with whom we can share our hopes, goals, disappointments and hurts. Sometimes the best we can do is what I call "detached contact': perhaps an email to a friend, a Facebook post, or instant messaging. I have often found it easier to email people in a support group or to Facebook than to actually call or visit someone in person. Electronic media is limited in that, unless you Skype, you can't see the other person, but it can feel safer and enable us to take that first step in connecting with a larger community. It gives us a feeling of control; if we don't like the reply to our message, we can delete it. We can, if we wish, "unfriend" someone on Facebook. But "detached contact" has its limits; it can become a crutch or an excuse to avoid people. Dean Martin once sang "Everybody loves somebody sometime." We will be touched by others sometime and even if it hurts, it hurts worse in the long run to isolate oneself. "Detached contact" should not mean absence of contact.

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