Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Calling Hours and Social Media

Today presents a new challenge to my social media experience.

 I feel compelled to attend "calling hours" for @Chris Raines, a person I only really know by way of Facebook and Twitter.

The challenge is, "What should I say?". I have no idea who will be there or what connection they may have to one another and myself.

Why attend such an event for someone that I only know with an @ or # tag associated with their name. It just seems appropriate that someone with skin on should stop by and extend thankfulness to those who mourn for the life and legacy that was and is @Chris Raines. While social media increases the spread and reach of our personality, there are experiences that are just best communicated by driving an hour or so and showing up.

So I am going to "show up" and pay respects to those who mourn. Respect from myself and a vast reach of @ and # tag friends that can't make it. I will not attempt to eulogize. That has been well covered by those that knew @Chris Raines personally. I hope my attendence will make a clear statement to the mourners that connections built in the social media world are just as real and lasting as ones that grow by personal contact.

So it seems uncomfortable to be going to this event. But some how it just seems proper.

What are your thoughts?

May God Bless.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve on a Livestock Farm

Christmas Eve brings a whole bag full of emotions to me each year. Today (12/24/2011) is a good example.

I sit at my office desk in the hog barn writing a blog because my employees are at work out in the barns. I just am not able to be at home resting with my family until they can go home to. There are not enough of us to rotate holidays. So we help each other get done, and skip some optional chores so we can go home. But the animals must be cared for. Why do you think "the cattle are" They want to be fed. They thought that the hay in the manger was for them.

Christmas day is my wife's birthday. I have wrestled for years trying to find a way to make it a special day for her. I have concluded it can't be done. When I get discouraged by the commercialization of my Savior's birth and think no one knows the meaning of Christmas anymore, I am reminded that it is impossible to overshadow Christ's day with my wife's birthday, at least in our house. Fortunately, I am married to an angel, and I have never seen her seem to mind that she has to share her day.

Then there are the empty chairs at so many tables of so many friends this year. This thought gets more clear to me each year as I experience the reality of time. Some day there will be sadness in my heart again because there will be another empty chair at the table. But isn't that the meaning of Christmas? Christ came to earth, knowing he would die. But he came anyway. Without Him there would be no Easter and no hope for those whose chairs are empty.

I can't speak of empty chairs and the responsibility of caring for animals without remembering the day I was old enough to "help" my dad Christmas day. I would haelp so the work could get done faster. That was the day I realised that once the animals were all cared for on Christmas day my dad and his employees stood around "in a sunny spot where the wind don't blow" and talked and joked for about an hour. Meanwhile, all these years, I had been at home, on my knees, on the couch, nose pressed to the picture window, looking down our country drive, waiting, waiting, waiting, for dad to get home. I remember both sides of this as clear as a can be.

But of course it isn't all empty chairs that I think about. I remember the high chairs filled with excited children. The christmas tree up on a table, or fenced off with a baby gate too. I can't think back on that without a smile in my heart.

There are alot of emotions that go with Christmas.

God is Good ...All the time.

Merry Christmas

P.S I think there are some people waiting at home for me.