Offline is the new luxury (23)

Last week, Irene was online more than ever. And that was okay. In fact, it was more than okay. It had been a strange and heavy week, one during which her smartphone was indispensable.

After suffering from a horrid illness, my dear friend’s husband passed away. She had texted me in the morning to say that he had had a nice peaceful night. This was followed by another text a short while later, this time with news that things weren’t going so well anymore. And then came the call that it was all over. I dropped everything and made my way over. The minute I stepped into my car, my phone was the most important thing in my life. Thanks to our group apps “Help Crew” and “Dream Team”, a mountain of tasks was able to be sorted. One message to such a group yielded immediate action.

That’s how a completely gutted church was filled with chairs, sheepskins and flowers. How, in no time at all, people had organized visuals and music. How catering was requested, offered and discussed. How it was arranged who could be where and when. How Help Crew organized the addressing of envelopes. How pans of soup were made. And, most importantly, how we ensured that our dear friend Anita and her daughter Ella had help every day and were not alone.

It was a very strange week indeed. And everyone around me was asking if I wasn’t too tired. Or if I hadn’t bitten off more than I could chew, what with all the organizing, driving there and back, and supporting and comforting my friend. But, to be honest, the solidarity and determination that emerged from all these different people coming together actually injected me with a great deal of energy. Yet when Saturday evening came round, I did plop myself down on the couch and allow myself to feel tired. I looked at my phone, and thought, “It’s also time for you to switch off. It’s time for us to rest.” And at that precise moment, a message came through from one of my co-organizers. And it was filled with so many beautiful words that I began to cry. I know that offline is the new luxury, but hell, there are times when I absolutely love being online.

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