In this modern age, the old practice of writing letters between penpals has pretty much faded into the anals of history. Now it is all social media, online communities, email, and chat programs. Sometimes you get lucky and find yourself extended family online, and if you are really lucky you will find someone who is like a real family member. Just because you never meet physically does not mean the friendship you built is any less valid or important to you.
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of one such family, I belong to a community on a 3d environment platform called Activeworlds (www.activeworlds.com) and have been building 3d cities and worlds for decades along side some of the most unique individuals I have ever known. Sure the community is like a somewhat dysfunctional family at times but I love everyone there. Even those who probably do not like me very much.
Just like in real life, I have lost quite a few people who were like real family to me, most of them to death a few to circumstances or they just moved on for one reason or another. Each one of them as they left our community took a piece of me and the community with them. Currently, I am praying for a few of those people in Activeworlds that are dealing with some medical issues of their own. I also worry over one or two that decided to either leave the community or just decided to no longer communicate with me.
The point is, does not matter if it is online, or if its in real life. Friends are friends, and they all mean something to your heart and soul. Just don’t forget those friends online are real people and need your support and deserve respect as well. Cherrish them for there is no guarantee of how long any of us are here on this shiny blue marble we call home. That really goes for both online and real-life people, life is short so forgive, forget and embrace those in your life that you have been blessed with to have as family and friends.
Be good to one another, rememebr to be kind and respectful.