This is a random post to share a photo I took today. Just a tree frog hanging out…not on a tree. He was doing the best he could to blend in, but kinda failing miserably.
I did a quick google search with the phrase “when did the internet start”.
The first answer that showed up, from Wikipedia, was October 29, 1969. But when I clicked the link, there was zero actual information about that specific date.
I would not remember anything before October of 1969, because, quite simply, I wasn’t born yet.
The next answer I saw was January 1, 1983 – the date when TCP/IP became the standard for network communication. I believe this is a better “birth date” for the actual Internet, because without a standard, there could be no possibility for global communication. However, it was not the birth of the World Wide Web, or what most people refer to as “the internet”.
I was born before 1983, and was an active young boy in 1983. So…yes. I do have some memories that are before January 1, 1983.
Just under my initial search, there was the phrase “when did the internet start for the public”. The answer to that question appears to be April 30, 1993. According to the article, this was the birth of the first world’s web browser. And for most people, that would be considered the real start of what we call “internet”.
I was a college student in April of 1993. I was married, too. I definitely have plenty of memories that predate 1993.
The primer didn’t ask what I remember about life before the internet. It just asked if I remember. So, I think I’ll leave it there.
Your turn. Do you agree with my opinion about when the internet began? Why/why not? Do you remember life before the internet?
swimming with the fishes
Today, I sort of committed myself to going for a swim later in the week. And not a “hang out and splash” sort of swim, either. Swim training – aka exercise.
At a nearby lake.
Before our move last year, I went swimming weekly in a nice, heated lap pool, inside a fitness center. With a life guard on duty, clean water, and where I could clearly see the bottom of the pool at all times. No other aquatic life, or bacteria, or algae. And it was very inexpensive!
After moving, I looked into local pools and fitness center options, only to discover I did not want to pay the fee necessary. The least expensive price was triple what I’d been paying! So, I just quit swimming. But I really miss it.
But open water swimming?
I swam in this lake as a kid, without thinking twice about it. But just for fun. I learned to water ski as well! Somehow I’m not so sure now. I think I know too much, and have heard too many scary stories about lake swimming. But I committed, and I’m about my yes being yes. So, I won’t be backing out now!
I really hope I like it, or at least like it well enough. This would be something I can do for free! And a lot of people from the area do swim training in this same lake.
I might have another post later this week about how it goes…if not, then I might be “sleeping with the fishes” (a quote from The Godfather, and also…I discovered today…the title of a movie from 2013 that looks pretty amusing).
I’m good at sleeping! For real.
I do have somewhat of a “routine” for getting to sleep that involves a fair amount of tossing and turning. Were one to casually observe me going to sleep, they would likely presume I’m a terrible sleeper! But no – most nights I sleep quite well. And I’m really grateful for that. I know not everyone can or does get good sleep.
Which reminds me of the phrase “like a baby”, but no… pretty sure I sleep better. Do babies really sleep all that well? What about all the waking and crying and feeding and changing of diapers? I don’t typically do any of those things during the night…just saying.
I am glad I can sleep well, because I go pretty hard most days, and my body & mind need the rest! I also enjoy an occasional nap – when I know I’m just too worn down from a really full day. But then, if I nap for very long, I will not sleep well. And that makes for a very cranky me. So I don’t get to take naps near as often as I would like.
I’m not a “hard sleeper”. I wake up pretty easily. But, gratefully, I can also usually go back to sleep quite easily, too!
Sleep is kind of a big deal! So I’m glad I can do it well – or at least well enough!
Speaking of sleep, are you familiar with the musical project named Sleeping At Last by Ryan O’Neal? I like the sound – especially this cover of I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).
I talk to most of the people I care about pretty frequently. At least, the ones who are alive…
There’s probably nothing I enjoy more than a good conversation. A real, deep kind of chat. And I love getting to know people – finding out their story – and not just the highlight reel, but especially the stuff they don’t want to talk about, the stuff they don’t just put out there every day.
I’m not choosy. Just keep it real. Real, real.
My wife and I were recently on a walk at a nearby park, and I noticed a young family – mom, dad, and three young kids. I’d guess the oldest was a preteen girl, the youngest, a boy, was maybe six years old. The middle kid – you guessed it – was somewhere between the two. And, I guess they were the typical “middle child” from my perspective, because I don’t even remember if they were a boy or girl.
I was pretty impressed that the parents were dragging all three of these kids out on a walk together. How sweet! A family who, from a distance, were all together and seemed to be enjoying themselves.
We were walking around a small pond area – maybe 1/3 of a mile total distance. They were slowly approaching us from the other side. Our pace was… a bit brisker. We were getting our steps in, after all!
As we got a little closer, I noticed something was missing from the “picture perfect” image I’d already created in my mind of this family. They were not interacting with each other. They were not even really looking where they were going.
Each person in the family was looking down at a phone in their hand.
They were still coming toward us, and I started muttering to my wife. What kind of parents take their kids for a walk in the great outdoors and then lets them have a phone in their hand the whole time?? Worse, what kind of parents take their kids on a walk on such a beautiful day, in such a beautiful setting, and then summarily ignores them!!?? I was getting a bit riled up – even thinking about saying something to these parents. Come one, you can do better! My wife, always quick to allow for alternative stories and look for the silver lining, asked me not to say anything. I agreed. We kept approaching – quite close by this point.
Then all five of the family members suddenly stopped, staring very intently at their phones, and took a few steps off the path together, gathering in a circle – now looking down in the direction of the ground.
In a flash, I realized I’d been a complete idiot!
They were geocaching!
Honestly, I’m a bit teary-eyed as I write this. I wanted to apologize, even though they couldn’t have known what I was thinking! I was so quick to judge, and especially quick to take offense at those parents! And they were doing a great thing with their kids – a family bonding activity and spending time with them outdoors! My…let’s call it what it was…anger gave way to pride and joy for those parents and those kids! They were using those phones to connect with one another, not, as I’d presumed, ignore each other. They were learning and growing, and spending time together!
I observe, wherever I am. It’s what I do. But I can be too quick in assigning a (possibly false) narrative to people, based on what I see – based on the information I can ascertain. I’ve literally been sitting in a restaurant, frustrated with what looks like a table full of people ignoring one another via their electronic devices (and they really were), and then I’ve grabbed my own phone to check on…whatever! I don’t even know! Like, honestly, half the time when I grab my phone, I don’t have a reason. And I don’t do any of “the socials”. So what am I checking it for, really?
Cell phone and other electronic device useage – especially the thing that is “supposed” to be connecting people – social media engagement – is definitely interrupting actual connectivity, and creating dis-integration among people, and within individuals. Worse, it is creating a huge problem with mental health issues. The U.S. Surgeon General just released a dire warning about this exact issue! It is hugely concerning to me, and I think I’m predispositioned to be on alert for it in others. But I’m not always right. My perceptions are not always founded, or even close to accurate. And I have definitely failed to notice how my own distractedness via devices affects me, and relationship with those with whom I desire connection. It is possible for people to actually use their devices for good reason, and with positive outcome. But I’m afraid that far too often this is not the case. I don’t know the answer for how to get people to put down their devices and actually engage in actual face time together. As in face-to-face dialogue and connection. I know I’ve referred to this before. Dr. Dan Siegel states that everyone needs to be seen, soothed, safe, and secure. This is the way mental health happens. And these things happen with real, person-to-person interaction. I know I can only change my patterns and behaviors. So that’s where I will continue to focus. Awareness is a start, but I’m not satisfied with that. I’ve made some commitments to myself – and to my wife – regarding my own phone use, but honestly I can do better still – and I will.
Have you observed or been part of positive situations where social media was involved? What about not-so-positive? How about outright mental health issues resulting from it?
the b word
There is a word that people often use – far too often, I think – that annoys, frustrates, angers and saddens me. I’ve started calling it the b word. My wife actually said it first, and I latched onto it.
No, not that b word! In some ways it might be worse.
I’ll illustrate a couple of times it comes up, but it happens far more often.
Scenario one: A friend, in passing, tells me some variation of “Hey, let’s get together sometime!”
My standard reply: Okay, sounds great! I’ll check with my wife and text you a few times that work for our schedule! (I tend to be the social scheduler in our household, but it’s always good to check with my wife!) So, I check with her, and send them a few options.
One of two things frequently happens at this point:
1. crickets – no response, then another follow-up from me, and then maybe…
2. a reply that includes the b word
Scenario two: I ask someone – by text, or in person – “how are you”?
A couple of usual responses:
1. Oh, I’m fine…and they move on.
2. I’m just so… b word
Have you guessed it yet?
What does that even mean??
When I hear it, my brain interprets busy to mean a lot of things, and none of them are very positive.
I’m over-committed and under-resourced.
I value productivity over connection.
I’m really struggling with some difficult life issues but I don’t want to tell you about them.
I’m really not so great with prioritization and I don’t know it / don’t want to admit it.
I don’t want to be your friend, but I don’t want to tell you, either.
I don’t trust you.
You’re not worth my time.
As I began thinking about writing this post, I also tried coming up with possible ways to receive that word positively. I’ve got nothing.
I think there is usually a better way to convey what is meant when using the b word. It might be harder, more painful, or take longer. But it would be more honest, clearer, and kinder.
What other scenarios come to your mind when the b word is used? Can you think of a positive use for it, when no other means of communicating would be better?
love & faithfulness
I didn’t think twice before answering this one. But when I did think twice, the result was a flood of thoughts! Many of them negative.
I want to leave a legacy of love and faithfulness. My track record for this has been…less than exemplary. My shame attendant wants to scream and yell at me about that, and heap self loathing on me. I can recognize it, even give it some empathy, some appreciation for trying to protect me, in a sense. I don’t have to enmesh with the shame. More and more often, I don’t.
I’m working on it.
“Let steadfast love and faithfulness never leave you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart”. Proverbs 3:3
Back in my early high school era, I was taking a shower one day, had my eyes closed because of the shampoo on my hair that was running into my eyes, then I turned and ran into the faucet with my face, catching the metal edge of it in the middle of my left eyebrow. Now there was not just shampoo in my eyes, but blood too (sorry if you’re squeamish).
What did I do? Not much. Got out of the shower, got dressed, and waited for it to stop bleeding. Moved on.
It wasn’t really that bad of a cut, but it looked pretty awful. And I wanted people to see it, so I was intentional about not cleaning the area, – for maximum gross-out effect. I wanted the attention. To be seen, even if I was seen in a negative way, was to me better than unseen. I know now just how unseen I felt in those days.
Predictably, my mom (stepmom, but I called her mom) made a pretty big deal about it. She insisted I clean it up, which I only sort-of did, because I didn’t want to lose the visibilty of it. After all, it was directly in the middle of my eyebrow, so if I cleaned it up too much, there wouldn’t be much to see! Some girls at school showed concern. What happened?? they would ask. Does it hurt?? I loved every moment, every glance, every question. I didn’t care that the wound was self-inflicted and even demonstrated my own awkwardness. I didn’t care that some of the guys would make fun of me for being clumsy enough to run into the shower faucet. I liked the attention, plain & simple. There’s a tiny divet under my left eyebrow to this day.
Years later, during a camp/conference situation, I gashed my head open on a steel beam under a staircase in the hotel where we were staying. I was “parking” my bike under the staircase, which I had to stoop to get under, but then stood straight up and WHAM! It knocked me on my butt – literally. I sat down, dazed for a moment, and then put my hand up to my head. Blood. Lots of it! I rushed up the stairs and put my head in the bathroom sink – blood flowing freely from the wound. I don’t remember a lot about the next several minutes, but I know someone in my family took pictures of the gash on their phone so I could see how bad it was. Someone else called a friend who was there at the conference with us who was a nurse. Should I go to the ER and get stitches? Would it heal on its own? There was enough ambiguity that I decided against getting medical treatment. My family had already made some dinner plans, and I didn’t want to be the person to keep those plans from happening. So, I smeared a lot of antibiotic ointment into the wound, put a hat on my head, and we went on to dinner. The nurse checked on me several times, and my family also “doted” on me a fair amount – which I soaked up. Again, I didn’t mind the attention, even given the self-inflicted nature of the incident. It healed up in time, without any further treatment. There’s a pretty long scar, and even an indention, hidden under my hair to this day.
And now I’m reminded of how beat-up my shins used to be when I was a kid. I rode a heavy “BMX” style bike with “free wheel” and a hand brake. I also tried a lot of crazy stuff on that bike – jumping off ramps and curbs, doing wheelies down the street, whatever I could think to do. And sometimes, when I would land awkwardly, my foot would hit the pedal just right to send it spinning backwards, into my shin. And if you’ve ever been kicked in the shin, you know how much that hurts! My shins were perpetually bruised and chewed up. But I didn’t care. In fact, I was pretty proud about it. I was a scrappy kid, and wanted everyone to know it! I still have scars on my shins – pretty subtle, and blend in with the age spots and freckles. But I know they’re there.
In recent history, I was removing a large mirror from a bathroom vanity area, and the mirror shattered in my hands. It broke into three large pieces, and one of the pieces crossed three of my fingers on my right hand. That was an immediate mess! One of the knuckles was peeled back to the bone. In this case, I was pretty concerned I had just started a job where I needed to use my hands constantly, and was afraid I might lose the job as a result. So, I went to my doctor’s office, which was very close to my house, for help. But the skin on my fingers was so gnarled up, there was nothing to be sewn together. All they could do was clean them, really well, put antibiotic ointment on them, and bandage them up. I figured out I could still manage to work, with an oversized rubbber glove on that hand. In hindsight, I don’t think my boss would’ve ever fired me for hurting myself, but wow I was pretty scared about it! I also got a lot of attention from it. The scars on my fingers were quite visible for a long time, but are pretty subtle now.
It’s easy to share about and even show my physical scars. I don’t even mind admitting I can be awkward and klutzy.
It’s quite another thing for me to share the emotional wounds I’ve received over the years. Harder still to admit how many of those wounds have been self-inflicted. Seems my clumsiness isn’t just (isn’t primarily?) physical. Worse yet, how many wounds and scars I’ve inflicted – especially on people I love and care deeply about! I have a lump in my throat even thinking about it.
About five years ago, an image came to my mind, which I sketched out and ultimately had tattooed onto the inside of my left forearm. It looks a little different in ink, but this is that sketch:
The inspiration for that sketch came from a passage found in the bible. Here’s how a little of it goes:
“Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.”
This quote is about Jesus, my higher power. And while it reads as if it were written after Jesus lived, the really interesting thing is that it was written a really long time before! That, friend, is called prophecy. And every prediction and prophecy in the bible about Jesus came true! There’s no one in history like him.
Yes, I have scars. A lot of them! Most are unseen – and not just because they’re hidden by hair, eyebrows, age, or time. I know you have them, too.
It’s the brokenness Jesus experienced that redeems my own. It’s literally his scars that have healed mine. Because of his wounds I can write today that I am healed. Perfectly! That’s what my tattoo proclaims to everyone who sees it. I’m broken, and I’m healed. Now, to be real…that doesn’t mean I’m perfect, yet. I’m still working that part out – or rather, Jesus is working that part out in me. And I’m learning to trust Him to do that. I’m thankful for therapy, and for the group of guys I meet with routinely to practice vulnerability and transparency. I’m thankful for my wife and my family who support me. I feel so undeserving, and yet I am so grateful!
He makes Beautiful Things where we only see pain and brokenness. I’m not ashamed of my scars – any of them. I am guilty, yes. But not ashamed. He redeems my mistakes, my pain, the hurt I’ve received and the pain I’ve inflicted (that I will inflict). His scars heal mine. They heal yours, too!
My wife and I played co-ed softball together for a few years. We had a lot of fun and made some good friends during that time. It was also after a really rough patch in our marriage, and while we didn’t always get along off the field, it was great to work together as part of a team.
I can’t say we were that great at it, but we did have a lot of fun.
During those years, a couple of things happened. I played outfield a lot. In fact, I was out in left field, so I didn’t get a lot of defensive action. Probably with good reason. One time, I caught a fly ball, but my glove was not centered and it landed mostly on my thumb, rather than in the soft meshy part of the glove. It hurt a lot, but I kept playing and never really paid it any more attention. My hand ached for several months after. Years later, I noticed that my thumb on my catching hand was no longer straight, like my other one. So, apparently I did break it. I just didn’t realize it at the time.
During another game, someone from the other team hit a ball in my direction. It was a low lob, and took a bounce before I could get to it. Or rather, before it got to me. I was caught off guard, but I stopped the ball – with my chest. Not the way I’d recommend! It hit me pretty hard, not quite squarely, just at my collar bone. This time I knew something wasn’t right – my collar bone felt a little weird. There was a small divet where the ball had hit me. But again, I kept playing! My chest hurt for quite some time after that. And to this day, I can feel a malformation in that collar bone. I don’t think it totally broke through – more like “chipped”. But I still think it counts.
Also, did you know that divet and divot are not synonymous? The spell checker on my phone doesn’t even think divet is a word, but it is!