Posted by: carolyn / through a widow's eyes | January 25, 2013


There’s a man I know online. I’ll call him Tom

because that is his name. I’ve only met him once in real life, but we hit it off immediately, shared a fabulous meal and a delightful evening. Perhaps someday we will meet again, but until then, I follow his Facebook posts, musings, jokes, photos. I am honored to call him my friend.

On Inauguration Day this post of his caught my eye:

“A lot of you, my friends, probably don’t know that the Stonewall Rebellion was where gay rights finally took a stance against injustice. Stonewall was a bar in NYC where police tried to raid. The patrons of that bar on that day stood up and said Hell No. They stood their ground, barricaded the entrances, and fought the police for hours. The fact that the President of the United States mentioned Stonewall is such a milestone in gay rights which I have fought for for over 40 years… that it brought tears to my eyes. We still have a long way to go, but to hear those words was one of the most striking and profound moments in my life.”  

I missed the inaugural speech in real time, on the happy coincidence of the day set aside to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., but the day after the inauguration, I happened to hear a clip of that section of Obama’s remarks in a Democracy Now newscast.
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, 
and Selma, 
and Stonewall; 
just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”

I had known what Stonewall meant historically, but because Tom had shared his thoughts – how much it meant to him – when I heard Obama’s words, tears came to my eyes (too) and I got chills so deep I had to find a scarf. It was a striking and profound moment in my own life, because of Tom’s input. Thank you for that, Tom.

I know the world is not perfect. I know we have a long way to go. I know we are all doing the best we can with the resources we have, and that a lot of the time, that is not yet good enough.

But I still believe we can use the internet to connect deeply with one another and improve our understanding of ourselves, each other and the world.

We can share our passions, respectfully and humbly put forth our two cents, educate each other. Some will absorb it and some will not. That is okay.

We need not stay in the shallow end of the pool, mired in the games, inflammatory rhetoric, invective, and snark, entertaining and comfortable as those things may be.
As a recent widow spending too much time sitting alone in a room, I have discovered the internet to be a matrix of love, sharing, and caring beyond anything I could have imagined.  

I’ve said it before and will say it again: if your online experience is not one of deep friendship, humor, illumination, compassion, and grace,




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