The Internet has become so integrated into modern life that it has impacted pretty much everything … even the grieving process. The Huffington Post reports on the “new” grief:
The ongoing development of powerful and sophisticated medical diagnostic and treatment technologies has led to what Dr. Barbara Okun and I have termed “the new grief.” It is “new” not in the sense that mourning has fundamentally changed, but in the sense that while sudden and unexpected death still occurs, much more common is a lengthy process that begins with a terminal diagnosis. This process may go on for months or, increasingly, years. It represents a crisis that may ebb and flow in intensity over time. It usually means that not only the terminally ill patient, but his or her entire family will become engaged for a protracted period of time.
The article describes the difficulty that Mary, 49, experienced as she struggled to deal with her husband’s sudden diagnosis of having cancer. As she looked for support, “Mary said that she initially found it easier to talk to strangers online than to, say, members of her church.” It also notes that he husband Ed “was less bothered for some reason by the idea of Mary chatting with her “online friends” than with people he knew.”
This may say something about our church communities (if we can’t talk to each other about what matters most in our lives, in what sense are we really one body?) but it also has something to say about online communities. Even though many such online interactions will be superficial, it’s possible, and even common, to start meaningful relationships online.
Every month, TruthMedia receives hundreds of emails from people wanting to talk with someone though our Mentor Center. In the past year, we’ve received 11,401 emails, which have been handed by our hundreds of volunteer mentors. These emails cover pretty much every topic imaginable, from relationship problems to school help to depression to spiritual questions. We’re always looking for new online mentors, especially (but not limited to) people who would like to mentor teens online. Volunteering is on your schedule (you decide how many emails you can handle) and you’ll receive training before you start.
If you’re interested in serving in this needed and growing ministry, please click here to learn more and begin helping others to find God or renew their relationship with Him today!
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