"Family Emails- Pt I" or "Ignorance is forgivable, but denial is just plain dangerous"

For ease of reading, I have separated this post into two parts.  One event has got me thinking about two issues: Technology (Part I) and Politics (Part II).  At least I separated this into two parts to avoid accusations of too-long-posts from the Wilson's and Dudley's of the internet. 

I received one of those emails today.  You know the kind that starts: "Forward this email and add you name on the bottom to prove to Washington that we care about topic X", "Forward this email finding your name and putting a tally next to it; it's for a kid's science project", "Forward this to everyone if you are not afraid to profess your love of Jesus".  

Not to stereotype, but I haven't gotten an email like this from anyone under 50 and over 13 in a long time.  What is it that keeps many of the Baby Boomers in my life filling my email box with fluff?  I am beginning to assume it has something to do with an email-er's level of comfort with technology.  Example: As my parents have begun to communicate more and more via email, as it becomes a daily part of their lives, their filter for what they want to attach to their name and send to others, gets more precise.  By now, they only send me exceptional and thoughtful forwards or funny pictures of animals.  I find it is the Boomers who still do not use email as a primary source of communication that keep throwing this nonsense out there.  Email is still a novelty to them, and it seems to me there is little self-awareness that what they email is attached to them in a very real, permanent way.  These people in my life clog my inbox, not because they were thinking of me, but because they were bored and I was the requisite number 13 to forward to for "good luck.  I swear, some guy in Tampa did it and then Publisher's Clearing House showed up 15 minutes later!"

Sometimes I wonder if there is a logic black hole when it comes to the internet.  Let's think through a "For instance".  The popular internet petition/poll.  I am not even going to waste my energy explaining this.  Here's someone elses words:
An email petition arrives with some information (often lengthy) about what the sender believes to be a worthy cause. It asks you to add your name (and sometimes other info) to a list and then pass the list on to all your friends and colleagues requesting that they continue the chain. It also asks you that should your name be (eg) the 100th on the list, to mail the list back to the organiser.

Let's suppose I start such a list, and pass it on to 5 friends, and ask that they continue the chain. To simplify, let's suppose a) that no one signs the list twice, b) that no two people supply identical information, c) that everyone who receives the list passes it on to between 1 and 9 people, d) that no one delays passing on the list, and e) that there is an infinite supply of people.

By the time there are 15 names on each list, up to 36,000,000,000 emails will have been sent, and each one one of them has my name on it. But how many times do the names appear of the 5 people I sent the original list to? And how is it possible to know the total number of people who have signed the petition?

The fact is unless you are using a third-party Poll/Petition site, there is not accurate way to track results, and results wouldn't stand-up under any level of scrutiny.

Part II...  What actually got me mad about it.



I admit it.  I have been pretty emotional lately.  I would be easy to go into default, blaming PMS, but I have never really been impacted emotionally by my menstrual cycle.  Perhaps because I have recently started exercising seriously for the first time since 4th grade, maybe my body is just reacting differently than I am used to. The human body does do strange things.  And then, maybe it's the new relationship-thing in my life: that coupled with the impending September move could be causing the wider and more rapidly changing slew of emotions.

But, I'm pretty sure it's answered prayer.  This year, during Lent, I have given up alcohol (as usual), and started exercising (for a half marathon, and also for a new years resolution; Easter is kind of like
Christian New Years). But as an added discipline (and I need that word, discipline, applied very loosely) I have also renewed a prayer that I forgot I was no longer praying.  It usually goes something like this:

"Father, let me taste and see your goodness.  Open my eyes to all your beauty in the small things.  Let that be my daily bread."

It always seems to be answered too. (Like with the LSD/Holy Spirit incident assisted by Henri Nouwen about this time last year.  See my post about being afflicted by thigmorphilla.)

I had a good friend who was praying the same thing with how he lived his life. We would often end a day talking about all those little surprise revelations, usually over "pint-sized" blessings.  I guess, we would in a way RE'count our blessings', without the cognitive tally.    These conversations were a type of praise, of worship.

My friend moved away, and has ceased to be a daily reminder for me to continue this practice.  I guess I just forgot to pray.  I miss that type of worship, especially when lately, my prayers of relying on God look more and more like a stress relief wish list.  Yesterday, I also saw a friend from back home Chicago had updated his facebook status to "I can think of nothing good, except submitting two scholarships, that happened today."  That made me so sad.

So, in an effort to begin again, as I often do, here is an inexhaustive list of the small blessings from the beginning of to today, waking until getting to work. 

- There was sunshine outside my curtains when I woke up.

- I went for the teapot, and there was already enough water left from the roomies for my oatmeal.

- On my way out I realize that I needed 3 cents more for coffee.  I keep change in a big 5Gal. water jug, that is hard to get change out of once it is in (that's the point).  I found 3 cents in the first alternative place I looked.

- When I walked out my front door, there was a sunshine immediately on my face and an unidentified child walking up the stairs. The first person I talked to/greeted this morning was a child.

- My Deli Guys had my coffee ready (small, no sugar, little bit of milk, napkin please) and I got to skip the line of high school students ordering sandwiches.

- I got a new monthly Metro card at work yesterday, because someone else was grabbing one, not knowing that this morning my current one was not going to have expired.

- The line in the Khrusty Brothers song Every Time A Lie song came on the headphones. "So I was sipping on my whiskey in Kentucky-town, where the top-shelf burboun is a Jim Beam brown", reminding me of my wanderlust, and the beauty in the commonplace and average of most of America, even if it is about liquor at 8:30 in the morning.

- I got a seat on the train while still in Brooklyn.

- There was an article on the NYTimes iPhone app.  called "JFK Condolence Letters Published for 1st Time".  It's about a new book complied of letters Americans write to Jackie after JFK's assassination.  After reading,  I was thinking about human connections, and that what creates the most intense connection (between non-lovers, and even then, maybe lovers, I wouldn't know) is sharing our
purest, most singular revelations. Which all led me to thinking about my pure, singular revelations.  Which reminded me of my forgotten prayer, and led me to sharing this morning.

- Mike bought my Americano for me this morning.