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Why Don’t You Move Away So We’ll See You More?

January 24, 2017

He used to be my boss. Then, he left the company to go take over the family business. Later I left and bounced between a couple of jobs before landing at my current one. He’s one of those Facebook friends that you have because they were once important. It’s not that you don’t like them anymore. You just have less in common. He posted on Facebook recently,

As many of you know, the last few years have been kind of hard on us. We’re going to be making a fresh start in a move to Cheyenne. Thanks for your kind words and acts of kindness.

Knowing he’d left to take over his family business, I felt bad for him. I didn’t know the story, but I really didn’t need to. It made me think, though. He mentioned that he’s selling his house in Salt Lake City. He’d lived just a few miles from me. I probably drove within a mile or two of his house a couple times per week. I’d never seen him since he walked out the door on his last day at our common company.

And now, he’s moving 1000 miles away and I might actually be more involved in his life. I have friends online that I’ve never met. One friend recently lost his wife to a long battle with cancer. I hurt for my friend. She had been a wonderul woman and they ran a community theater in Chicago together. We’ve never met. Not in person anyway.

When Jesus told the crowd to “love your neighbor,” a lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?”

Many people don’t know the people who live on their street, or the people who live in their building. I’m lucky. I live in fairly stable neighborhood. Many of the families have been here for years. We’re the newest and we’ve been here for four years. I know all the people on my street. We know that the retired couple at the top of the cul-de-sac need help shoveling their sloped driveway. The single mom across the street lost her aging father last year. I recently replaced the brakes on her van. The next-door neighbors host a 4th of July breakfast for the street. The large family across the other street have helped us with everything from car repairs to Christmas lights. The entire neighborhood watches out for each other.

But, I know that I’m not normal in that respect. In many parts of the United States, people don’t get outside and talk to their neighbors. Often we are closer to the people we interact with online than the people we are physically close to.

Sixteen years ago, we inaugurated a president who upon taking office, stopped all electronic communication. He dropped off of email entirely. Eight years ago when we inaugurated a new president, the big IT discussion was whether or not the president could keep his Blackberry phone. The president wanted it because it would keep him better connected online. The IT staff were worried about the possibility it might get hacked. Last week we inaugurated a new president who not only is obviously keeping his eletronic device, but intends to stay active in social media.

Part of the progression is better security. We know better how to protected a phone than we did 8 years ago. But, I think it also indicates how the internat is drawing us closer together. The White House just announced they are discontinuing their phone lines to handle citizen comments and complaints. Instead they are directory people to their online presence.

The internet and Facebook seem to be reversing the tendency of people to withdraw from each other. Sure, it’s not the same, and in some cases, not as good as actually walking across the street to meet your neighbors. But, sometimes all you need to do to connect with your neighbor is get them to move away to someplace like Cheyenne.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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