Apparently and mysteriously, I have a ruptured disk at the base of my spine. It causes me pain to sit, turn, or lift my left leg.
Today after I went to the doctor (who prescribed copious drugs, rest, follow-up, and physical therapy, along with limited sitting), through electronic, digital media, I made my three-dimensional self superfluous. Instructed one class to have a review conversation on their own in our classroom; moved the next class’s lecture content to an online, open-book individual assignment, and conducted tutorials by phone and email from my not-quite comfortable couch at home.
It’s been a semester of living in tension between the painfully, physical present, and complicated, mediated life in community and society. At work and in the United States, the days (and nights) are saturated with protest and communication, assembling in person and online, marching with feet and joining movements with words and digital images.
Tonight, I wonder how my Social Media class’s #Ferguson case study follow-up conversation (checking back in after our September initiation) and my Media & Society class’s reading notes on the messages and ideologies embedded in particular forms and technologies went. At the same time, I watch my communities, concentrically connected from family to boarding school to college, work, church, and “strangers” known well through pictures, tone, humor, pain, passion, and insight, character, goals, conflicts, and movement on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
The physical and social dimensions of black lives and Christian lives and USAmerican lives and just... lives matter. There’s real work and pain and solidarity and encouragement to be experienced online and in person. (Just while writing this, three emails arrived boosting morale in one social circle.)
I’m lying here impotent but not. You’re standing there frustrated but hopeful. You’re reading there, writing there, listening there, human soul and body, connected.
How long must we live this way? You have given me an open ear. Let all those be put to shame and confusion who seek to snatch away life. Your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever. Do not delay, O my God. (Pslam 40)