Living On… Through Facebook

I recently listened to an episode of Radiolab that dealt with death. One part that stuck with me was the story of a member of the Peace Corps who died shortly before the end of his service. Months later, his parents received a letter from him. He had written a letter two years prior that had been delayed intentionally. It was as if he had written to them from beyond the void between life and death.

The other day, I had a similar sensation. I logged into Facebook and noticed an update showing that my friend, Daniel Parker, had been tagged in a photo. The only thing is, Daniel died earlier this year as the result of a bicycling accident. It occurred to me that, even though Daniel is no longer with us here on earth, people continue to upload pictures of him and post notes on his wall, giving us all a little broader picture of his life. It’s like Daniel’s friends have become his ghostwriters, in a way, bringing him back to us.

Much like we read love letters from famous figures long since departed, I imagine people will some day sift through all of the information on Facebook (akin to looking through an old microfiche roll today) and it will serve as a diary and encyclopedia for all of us living and using Facebook right now. In some ways, that can be really creepy. 200 years from now, who might be looking over my poke wars between Johannes and myself? Who might look at every single update I ever made? Not to say I would be so interesting that the future would focus on me specifically, but it remains a possibility. Everything, perhaps public and private, posted on Facebook will one day be released and published, like letters from soldiers in the American Civil War. The story of our lives will be told over again.

If I understand the attenuation of sound waves even in the slightest, then in theory, audio waves never totally disappear (in theory). They continue to reduce through exponential decay, but they never reach 0… again, in theory. But if this was actually true, would that mean that every word ever spoken is still floating around in the airwaves, bumping into our words? What if the words of Jesus were, in a very literal sense, still moving? Will our words continue to move too?

A question was recently posed to me by Dr. Robert Woods: “Would Jesus have a Facebook page?” Tonight, I wonder, maybe He already did have one? And maybe He continues to have one. Through people like Daniel Parker and others still here with us. Maybe their stories are His stories.

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