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You Are Real

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Nest by Ann Voskamp 300x198
The following thoughts are shared by HCB member 'The Unknown Contributor'... One night, when I was about 9 years old, I watched the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I distinctly remember the part where Chief suffocates McMurphy with a pillow to save him from a horrible fate. Afterward, I cried uncontrollably in my bed. My mother came, and I asked why did it have to be that way? I was feeling a whole lot of empathy. She explained it was just a story. The things on T.V. are make-believe. I felt better, enough so I could go to sleep without nightmares. And I learned a valuable lesson—what I saw on a screen was for entertainment. As I grew older I learned that even tragic news is exciting and entertaining—think Nancy Grace or the O.J. chase and subsequent trial. In time I was able to sit through commercials showing little children with ragged clothes and distended bellies. I may have even used one or two of those commercial breaks as a chance to hit up the fridge for a snack to enjoy when my show came back on. It's no wonder my generation and those that follow may lack empathy. The screen has taken over our free time and is for our entertainment. It is virtual and far removed from us. With the advent of the Internet and social media we've been able to follow people all over the world through our computer screens. How fun! We can have hundreds of Facebook friends, follow numerous blogs, and even watch off-the-cuff thoughts streaming from Twitter. Now that’s entertainment. Two years ago this month, I gave birth to a little girl with Down syndrome and my world opened up exponentially. I started to blog. I reached out to a group of Down syndrome bloggers and joined the HighCallingBlogs community. I even started Facebook and Twitter accounts— me who can’t bring myself to answer the phone half the time. Suddenly I was enjoying an overflow of emails, notifications, comments and feeds. Relationships developed and, little by little, I began to count people I'd never even met as real friends. Virtual chit chat turned into get-togethers, ways to help others, caring gifts, poetic treats, service opportunities, and even brought two new children into my life. I smiled as families expanded and cried where there was loss. I can’t recall the moment it struck me that you, Reader, are real. It's no longer just entertainment. I can touch your life, and you most certainly have reached through the screen and touched mine. --- Editor's Note: You Are Real is a companion article to Empathy on the Rise: Bloggers Unite! It is also a testament to the way HighCallingBlogs brings people together. Please check out this related story and opportunity to make a real difference in the life of an HCB family, brought to our attention by HighCallingBlogs member Erica Hale. Nest photo by Ann Voskamp. Used with permission.
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