It's what joins us.
It's what connects us (in large part, seeing as only a few of you I have the pleasure of knowing in Real Life).
It's what enables our shared moments, our conversations, our revealing of self and our insight into each other.
It can be a vehicle for the promotion of understanding, education, personal growth, compassion, empathy, wonder (somebody bring me an Our Land flag to wave...) and in a sense, it truly is our land. This non-land place of bits and bytes and information stored in strings of 1s and 0s, streaming down the information superhighways and out into our laptops, mobile phones and PCs.
This week, I've been stunned and humbled at the commitment and generosity of people 'at the other end of the internet' as they (you) have helped me to get 2/3 of the way to my fundraising goal of £500, as I prepare to run 5K in Race for Life, having been so moved by Dyanne's latest horror story from the battlefields of cancer treatment.
Thank you. The internet has brought wonderful things in this respect.
But my deadline is the 18th, and £500 by then is easily manageable.
Tonight I came across something far more harrowing. A friend (yes, on the internet) has been having a battle. She is a survivor of more domestic violence than you can shake a stick (or a fist) at. She managed to escape a while ago, taking her two children with her to safety in another state. She's doing her utmost to protect them, but because of the legislative differences between states, her ex is now doing everything in his power to take the children away from her.
She needs a lawyer for the state she has to fight him in, as the one from the state where she now resides is unable to.
The good news - she has that lawyer lined up.
The bad news - she needs $1000 to pay for him, which is about $1000 more than she has available, having spent every last cent on the first lawyer.
The terrifying news - she has til MONDAY to find this money. As in, the 7th October. Less than three days time.
You know those times when you hear about the woman being beaten and abused and you want to scream at her to get out and protect herself and her kids, and why hasn't she left already?
She's done that.
You know the times when you cheer because she finally did; she finally left and is planning to make something of her shattered life and heal her broken, traumatised family with love and care and a safe place to live?
She's done that.
You know the time when you hear about the scheming ex who uses lies and loopholes to try to reach out and hurt her from afar, aiming to deny her even the small hope that she can protect her children from the monster who used to make her life a living hell, and who would doubtless wreak his temper on those small, vulnerable beings, should he get his hands on them?
That's happening now.
You know the time when that brave warrior woman picks herself up from the shattered remains of her life and tries to think straight and get organised and find a way - any way - to protect her babies from being taken from safety, because for now, in the darkest days of her heart, they are her hope, her future and her life, and she will do everything she can to protect them?
She can't do that.
She can't do that because she needs the money.
The only way - her only hope - is the lawyer in the other state, and without him, her children will be taken and delivered back to a man who, if justice was served, should be locked up and never allowed near them ever, ever again.
You know that time when you heard such a desperate cry for help, and you had the chance to do something real - to read her story and donate to her cause - in an emergency, because she needs you - she needs everyone - she needs to be able to rescue her children - and you made a decision.
You know that time?
Please click here and read, and if you can find it in your heart to donate, please, please do. Even $5, or $2, or $0.50 - because the alternative, if she can't afford the lawyer, is unthinkable.
This, my dears, is the TRUE power of the internet. Thank God for it.
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I can say mama, I Want Backsies, Rewritten, Steps into Parenthood, Thankful Me, The Wakefield Doctrine