Monday, July 30, 2012

Old-Fashioned Shut-Ins With New-Fangled Computers

"For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body."  ... James 3:2

I remember being twelve-years-old at church and making a cute little tissue holder out of the felt and sequins for those mysterious shut-ins we were always hearing about. You know, people who never stepped out the door of their homes or their convalescent hospital. Hard to imagine such a thing as never leaving your house, especially for a child, but I'd think about these shut-ins and though I'd feel sorry for them, I'd also try to imagine what sorts of things they could do at home so to keep themselves occupied and happy.

I've always been a sort of glass-half-full kind of gal.

Anyway, lately I've begun thinking about Today's shut-ins and how wonderful computers must be for those who have them. Computers can zoom a whole world inside your house! Whereas the shut-ins I heard about as a child probably suffered much loneliness from lack of communication with people, the home-bound of 2012 can chat with anybody, anywhere. Anyone with a computer and a kind heart can be a friend to someone too weak, too afraid to travel anywhere, even down to the local market.

And even there, groceries can be ordered online. Clothing, trinkets, and well, just about anything can be bought if a shut-in has the funds. How convenient that must be! (Yes, a bit too convenient for those with shopping/hoarding issues, but let's not go there...). Those who spend most of  their time at home can relieve at least some shopping responsibility from their caregiver, if they have one.

And the Kindle thing! Any shut-in who loves to read, but can't get to a library, now has the option of bringing hundreds of books into their homes by way of Kindles, hand-held ones or those free upon their computer thanks to Or through however many other book-sharing means there are out there (who can keep track of all this technology? Not me.)

And for tv fans there's Netflix, Blockbuster, Hulu and others. For those who enjoy clubs filled with kindred spirits, there are email groups who write about everything from knitting to talking about their grandchildren (and anything else) and there's Facebook to keep in touch with old friends and family members, too, who share photos of children and events shut-ins can only dream about.

And there's more I'm not even mentioning, more I'm not even aware of.

Why bring all this up? And why did I place that verse about the tongue at the top of this post?

I guess I just wanted to remind myself (and all of us... ok, ok) to watch our words when we're tempted to speak of Internet Life as being "second rate" or "not as good as." Because I know I would hate to make anyone-- especially shut-ins of any caliber--feel as though they're living a second-rate life by way of their much-treasured computer. How horrible it would be to make them feel that computer friends aren't as good as my real-life friends. That they're just imitations, not real,  nor as vital or warm-blooded as someone sitting beside you.

I would so hate to steal anyone's hope by way of my words, anybody's joy in the life which they've created for themselves either by choice or necessity.

And may I remember all this. May I watch my words carefully.


Of course, I'm not just talking shut-ins here........


The top photo: Two-thirds of my front flower bed is now finished and I decided to make it partially an herb garden. It's amazing how little space is required to grow food and flowers. Oh, and remember those upside-down candle-holders from the farm? Instead of birdseed, I place water in them for tiny birds and insects.

The bottom photo: My little fenced-in area got a make-over this weekend. That cute rooster is the one I found at Salvation Army.


"I said, I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle..."  ~ Psalms 39:1



Anonymous said...

I sure can see that if a person has a computer and good service it would help to while away the hours and keep a person busy. They could keep in contact with friends through e-mail. Yes we can do so much with a computer. There is of course no substitute for real visitors. I have relatives who still view the internet as the devils workshop and will not have a thing to do with it. They will send e-mails but not go on the net at all. They are completely closed minded as to the good things on it and that you can be on and not see 'bad' things. We have given up trying to make them understand. We are not going to let this come between us. They think their way and us ours but we do not discuss it any more. I know of a shut in who lives on the second floor of a building and her mailman calls from outside and she opens her window and lowers a basket to get her mail!!! :) Where there is a will there is a way! :-) Sarah

Bonnie said...

The flower & herb beds look great, Debra! And that rooster looks adorable in there. I think that's a basil plant I see in there, too. What are you going to cook with it? You could make some caprese salad easily enough. Or some pesto. I love pesto with pasta.

That your thoughts ran to the needs of shut-ins is indicative of your tender heart toward others. It may sound funny, but it made me think of tagging along with my dad when he would visit shut-ins in our little WNY town when I was a little girl. They were usually elderly women who were now widowed. I don't even remember the topics of conversations...(too little to care, I suspect.) I just always got the feeling that we were dropping by "just to check in." It was always on a Saturday morning. Come November he'd also make phone calls to the same folks asking if they needed a ride to the polls to vote. So loving, I thought, even as a little girl. Now *he* is the age that these people who we were checking in on were then, and he lovingly takes care of my ailing mom. A better man I've never known. My husband and son both take after him. Thanks for that memory, Debra.