Friday, January 25, 2013

The hidden cost (and stresses) of communication

I don't know about anyone else, but communication devices are becoming very stressful for me. Email, Social networking sites, Skype and telephone mean that your friends and people you know expect you to keep in touch. No matter where in the world they are, because of these devices, I have no excuse to not keep in touch, even with persons that I do not know if I will meet them in person again. 

On top of that, I have to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, and special holiday seasons, and remember to send various persons greetings who may or may not be expecting me to do so. Managing all these relations, responding to emails, messaging people on Facebook, are taking a toll on me. I have started to ignore when Facebook reminds me of friends birthdays, and begun to email people in groups general messages and greetings and updates. I don't even bother to instant message persons unless I need to set up a meeting with them or bring a matter to their attention.

These days remind me of the times when I started mail correspondence with girls in high school. It was always good to receive mails, but these was just too much pressure to reply. (Yes...these were before the days of cell-phones and text messages.)

I now appreciate the ancient days when if people wanted to correspond, they would have to travel. Those days of John the Baptist or Jesus of the New Testament Bible for instance. People had to travel distances to see them and get a word from them.

No offence to my friends, colleagues and those who I know personally. I love people, and love deep conversations and the advice given by my many mentors and friends. I need and depend on my social capital. However it is really costly to have many friends and know many people. It is costly to one's attention span from a communication perspective. As the number of people I know increases, I am forced to zone some people out until some event or happening makes them more relevant again. Hence it is nothing personal. It is just that I am unable to manage the stress of keeping in touch with so many people. :(

That's why I understand that Jesus narrowed down those whom he communicated with. In Luke 10:1, he appointed seventy-two people. Then he later narrowed down the 72 to the chosen 12 disciples out of the crowds that followed him, as the Bible says in Mark 3:13, Jesus "called to him those he wanted, and they came to him." He later narrowed this down to 3 out of 12 (Matthew 17:1). It appears to me that being in man's limitation, one can only communicate effectively with a few people, especially in order to impact those people so that they can pass your message on to others.

Shalom! God's peace be with you!

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