Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Power of the Internet

The internet is a powerful resource. It can be an asset or a liability, a friend or an enemy, depending on how we use it.

I want to tell you a story, but it isn't about spanking. Some of the details have been altered to protect the identities of the people concerned, but it really happened a few years ago.

I belong to an online group of people who correspond by email to discuss a [vanilla] interest that we all share. Some groups don't permit off-topic posts, but in this group, anything goes, so the conversations are about anything and everything.

One day, a group member asked us all to think good thoughts about her son, who would be undergoing surgery the next day. Many members responded that they would. At the time there were about 800 people in the group.

The following week, someone else asked us to think about her mother who was ill. These requests became more frequent as people realized this was a place where people cared about each other. The moderator added the names of those who were sick to the home page of the group, as well as to the bottom of each email that went out to everyone. Names were added and removed as time went by.
Ron has a friend whom I'll call Pat. On a holiday long weekend Pat came down with something, probably the flu, but serious enough to warrant a trip to Emergency. The diagnosis was indeed the flu, and that was that.

But Pat didn't get any better. After a few days another trip to Emergency resulted in an airlift to a bigger hospital that was better equipped to deal with whatever this was. And the news from the big hospital was not good. Pat was having organ failure and was put at the top of the transplant list. 

Ron had known Pat and Pat's partner Chris for many years, and had watched their children grow up. He was as upset as they were, and there wasn't anything any of us could do but stand by helplessly and wait. Then I had an idea. I told my group about Pat's predicament and soon another name appeared at the bottom of every email. Pat was in the hearts and minds of 800 strangers all over the world.

I told Ron what I had done and expected him to be sceptical. But I was wrong. He was touched by my gesture, and told Chris and the children, who were also very pleased and grateful.

We were all prepared for the worst. But after a few days, Pat started to improve, and by the end of the following week was released from hospital and sent home with medication. We'll never know exactly what was wrong or why the condition suddenly reversed itself, but I like to think that my 800 friends on the internet--strangers I've never met and probably never will--played some part in it.

From Hermione's Heart


PK said...

I have no doubt the thoughts and prayer of those 800 did make a difference.


The Headmaster said...

There was an interesting experiment on the power of prayer done some years ago and, as in this case, it seemed to provide some interesting results. 'There is more in heaven and earth, Horatio...'

Anonymous said...

Hermione, it is wonderful and surprising the support you can get from people you don't know in real life and may never meet. A common interest can bind people together and bring out their best. We are social creatures after all.


Anonymous said...

That's amazing, I for one definitely believe in the power of positive thinking, and prayer! I learned this from recent experience as you know. My chances we slim, but I stayed positive, and made my family and friends stay positive, not to mention being on a huge prayer list, and here I am perfectly healthy!

I am so happy for your friend, and that you had the support of such a loving group of people.

Daisychain said...

Hermione, I chatted online in a chatroom, and as different people got to know I was a christian, some took the mickey, but others, if they were sick/in a jam, asked for said, "I don't believe in God, so He won't help if I ask Him, but He might if you ask for me" !!!! Ummmmm??
In the end, I was getting so many requests I wrote out a prayer list... many people never said if they felt helped by the prayer; but there were a few amazing results...4 friends with various cancers were healed, one was terminal...given 4 months and is still with us 2 years later.... another had a close relative who was pregnant and told the baby may have downs.... babe duly born after much prayer fit, well, healthy....PRAISE GOD! If just ONE person felt a little better (whether in mind, body or spirit) from the time spent praying, it would be worth it! God heals, He will help when asked, but He doesn't interfere.
I firmly believe He helped in your friend's case. Great post! xxxxx

Radha said...

This is such a wonderful example of the power of prayer, as well as the power of community!

thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi, i like your blog. If you like we could exchange links betwen our blogs. Let me know!!!

Best Regards

Anonymous said...

Hi Hermione:
A great post. And yes the power of prayer and positive thoughts are amazing. Thanks for reminding all of us.
Take care,

Hermione said...

PK - I agree. I'm sure of it.

Headmaster - There is, indeed! And yes, I'm familiar with that study.

Mina - We are social creatures, and I think it's the common interest among us that makes these groups so responsive to other needs within the group.

Janeen - I'm sure you had many blogging friends praying for you. I'm glad you are well now.

Daisy - When I shared this story with people I knew, I was given names to be added to the list.

Radha - At this particularly difficult time, I wanted to present a positive view of internet friendships. I'm glad I succeeded.

Spanking OTK - Thank you. I'm glad you like it.

Andrades Girl - Thank you . I've wanted to share that story for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect time.


ronnie said...

Lovely post, so glad you shared it with us Hermione.
Yes power of prayer can be very strong.
Thank you.

Terpsichore said...

the power of positive thought and prayer is amazing...lovely story...

Hermione said...

Ronnie - it can, indeed.

Terps - Thank you.

Michael said...

What a touching story, Hermione. I was expecting the worst, but was overjoyed for Pat and that you and your friends helped in Pat's time of need. Prayer is powerful and I was helped back in October by many people in the blogopsphere who wished me well when I was doing poorly, inluding you, Hermione, and I truly feel it made a difference in my recovery.

What a lovely way to start our weekend. Thank you, Hermione. :)

Anonymous said...

Just checking out your blog Thats a really sweet story, thanks for sharing it :)

Hermione said...

Michael - It was quite a surprise to all of us, but a wonderful one. And I'm so glad you felt our prayers helped you.

lil miss- Welcome! Please drop in again soon.


Jean said...

Yes, the power of prayer is real/ Thanks so much for sharing this blessing with us.

Hermione said...

Jean - It was my pleasure.