Sunday, October 09, 2011
James, Social Media and 'just doing my job'
This morning... in our church gathering at the Salvation Army in Bellshill... my father-in-law James (pictured) collapsed. It turned out afterwards that it was due to having low blood pressure and being too warm. He's home and under the intense scrutiny that is my mother-in-law.
At the time it was awful! Olly and I got such frights and... well... it was a roller-coaster in the emotions department.
That said... today Social Media - predominately Twitter and Facebook - once again proved their mettle. Both Olly and I were inundated with so many messages of support... so much so we were almost constantly looking at our iPhones.
Ping! Ping! Ping! goes the sound of friendship and concern... and it was a welcome sound and pleasant distraction when we were waiting in the ghastly waiting room in Wishaw Hospital.
Social Media is considered a lesser form of friendship by some. Whilst there is nothing like a visit or a phonecall at times of stress... a tweet or a Facebook message is a valued message. Its like an instant 'greetings card' that expresses the sentiment of 'hey... you are not alone in this'. This can not be decried and must not be undervalued.
Yes... not all my 'friends' and connections sent me messages but I was more interested in those who did... and I was surprised who actually did... than those who didn't. Social Media isn't a numbers game. Its about connections and conversation... with Twitter being about 'discovery' too. That aside... I was touched by all the messages we received and I extend my thanks to everyone who took the time to connect.
What I was also touched by was the attitude of both Stephen (Gemma's partner and Doctor) and Adrian (our Minister).
Stephen was the first to James and took charge. He was a reassuring presence among a number of reassuring presences - we are blessed with a considerable number of folks from the medical profession in our church. Stephen isn't a regular attender but chose to come today of all days... coincidence? I don't think so.
Anyway... Stephen downplayed his efforts when we got a chance to speak with him after James was admitted. To him this was what he did as a Doctor... what he was trained for... his 'bread and butter'. For us... for the family... it was far, far more.
Similarly... Adrian visited the family in the ghastly waiting room and spent time with us. Time he needed for travel to Paisley for an event that our kids' choir was participating in. He spoke to us and showed his concern in such a practical manner... again, to him this was what he did as a Minister... what he was trained for... his 'bread and butter'. For us... for the family... it was far, far more.
I guess the point here is to never underestimate what you do... brief messages mean a great deal... and doing what you do... expressing your concern in practical ways... showing up, so to speak, and doing your job when it counts... may be your normal response but for those who receive this compassion in action... its far from normal and it is greatly appreciated.