Monday, April 7, 2014

“F” is for Facebook Friends and Family: a Modernized Parable

FThis is a modernized retelling of the parable of the good Samaritan. Note that I wanted to use person instead of man, but it was so repetitive as to be spammy.

Once upon a time (not too long ago) there was a man who had a huge, wonderful family and many, many friends, whom he knew personally and loved. One day, the man found Facebook, and discovered that he could keep close contact with his family and friends, which filled the man’s heart with with joy; he lived in a city far from all of them and in this manner, he was updated daily on their comings and goings. Soon, he began to add new friends to his friends list – friends he had never met but who seemed to be supportive and affectionate – and he began looking forward to reading their posts and their comments on his posts.

One day, the most unexpected tragedy overcame him: his beloved companion came down with pneumonia, and after much suffering, died. The man was disconsolate, his heart broken by the sudden loss of his dearest friend; upon hearing the tragic news, his family and friends, both actual as well as virtual, sent their condolences and love, support and commiseration, for his companion was also well-loved by many of the same people.

However, the support of one family member was particularly notable for its lack. In fact, when the man’s Facebook friends and family began to give compliments to the man for his strength and courage, the family member lashed out at the man, criticizing him for considering the words of his Facebook family more important than his real family (not realizing that many of the people giving comfort and advice were actual family members).  And behold, this lack of understanding served only to deepen the man’s sadness and kultur_facebook-fac_728700adepression.

And then, as the man sank deeper in grieving for his loss, a wondrous thing took place. Because of the death of this man’s companion, he was left with grievous financial difficulties and was even faced with the possibility of having to leave the home the two of them had shared for all the time they were together, the place where there were so many happy memories. But, behold: those very people, the “despised” virtual family and friends, silently got together and took up a collection and gave a goodly sum to the man so that he would be able to stay a little longer in the home where the two of them had been so happy.

And now, I ask of you, who was indeed this man’s family?

© 2014 Mary Purpari

14 comments:

  1. Great story Mary! True friendship can be found online as well as in the physical world. May the man's grief lessen over time, so he can lead a happy life. ☺
    Debbie @ The Doglady's Den

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is very touching at many levels, Mary. Truly family is not blood but those we gather along life's journey.
    Sending the man all my good wishes and healing thoughts.
    Corinne Rodrigues
    Arlee's Ambassador:AtoZ Challenge
    Everyday Gyaan and From 7Eight

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Corinne. I've referred your wishes, and the man also thanks you.

      Delete
  3. True family isn't defined by blood and shared relations. Family are those who love us and support us and a lot of times, thanks to today's technology, they are ones we haven't even met. This was a very touching story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lizzie. It was also true...

      Delete
  4. I agree. I don't understand when people make comments about how Facebook friends aren't "real." I have had experiences where people used fake names, and experiences where people pretended to be someone they were not and took advantage of me financially, but I have SO many friends on Facebook and have been on here for years now, and many of these friends wouldn't hesitate to drive out and rescue me from a flood or check or chat with me for hours if they thought I was sad. My bad experiences are no different than experiences I've had with people I met in person, so there really is no difference as far as I'm concerned. A friend is someone who cares.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, and in this case, the virtual family did more for the man and showed more respect for his pain than did the physical family member. I thought I had answered this earlier. Forgive me, Darla Sue.

      Delete
  5. I found my long lost childhood friend on Facebook :)
    Nice post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that great, Shine? I have found a number of my high school friends whom I thought were lost to me forever through FB. Thank you for dropping by.

      Delete
  6. Given the times that we live in, we are no longer surrounded by family, extended family and friends. But with technology in our hands, we have built a big network of online friends. These are our virtual friends with whom we connect more frequently and more deeply. Though, we may not have met them in person but we feel more closer and connected with each other than some of our real life friendships. Their messages of support and encouragement, affection and smiles, truly warms our hearts. I could relate to the story you shared here!
    Shilpa Garg
    Co-Host AJ's wHooligan for the A to Z Challenge 2014

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Shilpa. Indeed, I have found a lot of new friends, but the biggest joy was actually meeting some of them in real life, too.

      Delete
  7. Beautiful story. I was amazed by the friends I found here on Blogger. It was something I never expected to happen in the virtual community. There was so much love and understanding here. I'm glad to call people I've never met my friends and consider many of them my family.

    Elsie
    AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know the feeling. I too have found quite a few old friends, but also many new friends, from all over the world. Thank you for dropping in. :D

      Delete

I would really love to read your thoughts, so leave a comment so we can all converse. Thanks.