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I came home late last night after working a short day, and then studying for a quiz in one of the three classes I am taking online at Trident Technical College.  I spend a lot of time working with technology, and staring at computers all day, so I had no plans on getting online when I got home.  I just wanted to stuff my face, and disengage my brain ,and watch some television.  I call television the idiot box because there is a lot of worthless garbage on it.  After a long day at the office, I like to stop solving problems, and just let me mind wander, and let it be filled with whatever favorite show is on at the moment.  Late at night, I typically watch channel 2 news, and the Tonight Show with   Jay Leno. I guess my parents got me hooked on the Tonight Show as a kid. I remember them watching the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was hosting it.  I like watching Jay Leno for his monologue, and to see which actor or actress he will be interviewing for the night.  It is interesting to me to see the real person that is behind the actor.  I am sometimes pleasantly surprised at how real, and sincere, and deep some of the folks are despite their fame and fortune. 

The other day I confessed my addiction to multitasking while sitting in front of the television.  I always have my laptop turned on, while watching the television, and eating supper, or a snack of some sort.  One of the reasons I have been battling a weight problem is because I have a need to snack, while sitting in front of the television.  Over the last 5 years, or longer, I have learned to eat sunflower seeds when I get the urge to snack.  One of the other things I am trying to change about myself is to have the ability to not always be multitasking.  Thanks to our new found desk I am trying to leave my laptop on the desk and not on my airdesk  next to my recliner.  I need to find a way for me to relax and watch TV, and not have to be surfing the Net, or paying attention to social media, or the IRC channel, that I have been helping to moderate for the last 2 or 3 years.  

I am drawn to social media and the IRC channel named #imprfect_christian because it is a community of people that I have learned how to connect with.  I spent a decade on IRC back in the early 90’s, when BBS’s were the hot thing going, and the way to connect with a community of people all around the globe.  Today there are still IRC networks and BBS’s that are in use by a lot of people.  I find it interesting that most folks that are on IRC have not adopted social media in the way that I have.  I think that most of them are just comfortable with the text chat interface, and for whatever reasons they have a dislike for Twitter, Facebook and the myriad of other social network applications.  

As I said earlier I was going to skip the nightly session on IRC, and social media, and just give it a rest. That lasted for about 20 minutes and then I found myself online once again, sitting at my desk eating supper, watching the news and chatting on IRC.  One of my friends from CT was online, and since she does not get online that often, we were catching up on life.  While we were chatting someone using the nick of itsmesteve logged onto the IRC channel, and told us that they were contemplating suicide.  When this was said our “troll alert” started going off.  You never know what is going through the minds of people when they come into an IRC channel and say something like that.  I did a whois command on the nick in question, and I could tell that they were not in any other channels on this IRC server.  Most of the time when someone is being a troll in a Christian channel, they are in a dozen other non Christian channels at the same time.  For whatever reasons some folks like to come into a Christian channel and be disruptive, or act out in order to get attention.  

In the case of itsemesteve he lost a loved one to a sudden myocardial infarction yesterday and he was experiencing some intense pain and anguish with the loss.  I spent some time chatting with him and encouraging him to speak about his feelings.  The person that he lost was an ex wife and apparently the children were blaming him for her death which was making matters worse.  I encouraged this person to reach out to local friends or family for support and I found out that he is a Christian which means that he will be able to lean on God during this time. 

One of the things I have learned from being online over the last 20 years, is that there are a lot of hurting people.  People are looking for love and acceptance, and relief from the pain they are experiencing.  I am glad that I am part of this online community, and more specifically, that I am able to provide a measure of comfort and support to folks like itsmesteve ,when they come into our channel late at night.  I am glad that we could be a safe haven for him to come, vent his feelings and share his pain.  Perhaps his being able to talk about the grief for a period of time, helped him to stop thinking about suicide.  

As I said earlier, I love social media, and the personal connections that I have made through it.  I believe that there are different people utilizing social media for different reasons.  Some folks use it as a means to network with others online, and advertise their services, so they can make a buck or two.  Some folks like me, just get online with social media for the people connections I can make, and to grow my community.  No matter why we get online, and no matter what social media applications we might use, we should be mindful that we are surrounded by hurting people, who may be going through some tough circumstances.  I know that I have met some very wonderful folks here in Charleston, who have blessed me tremendously because of the type of people that they are.  I guess that is what community is all about.  Being real with one another, and respecting one another, and walking down the road of life, and being there when folks need for us to be there.  

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