Sunny Garcia is in ICU, here’s why we need to stay connected

Yesterday, I read the sad news that surfing legend Sunny Garcia is in intensive care after trying to take his own life. To many, Sunny Garcia might be unknown, but in the surfing world, he is one of the greats.

I grew up watching the Hawaiian champion surf. He was all power and was a ‘man’s man’. Now in his late forties, he has probably, like many athletes, struggled in retirement. The sad part though is that he has lots of friends. One check of his Instagram page shows me that he in fact has 159,000 of them. But how many people are in his daily life?

The great Kelly Slater commented on Instagram, as did a host of professional surfers.

It’s the same problem we all face in this new social media world. For example, I have 30,000 Linkedin followers and 3,746 Facebook followers, but like you, I can only count on one hand, maybe two, the number of people who are actually in my world and would be aware if I had a major issue.

We are living in an increasingly isolated world, where people have never been so connected, yet at the same time are growing in loneliness. Our new technology means we barely need to leave the house. Who even goes to the movies anymore in the Netflix era?

More and more people are working from home, or are contracting, meaning they work alone. It’s now, more than ever, that we need real friends. In fact, this might even be a golden age for our churches to be that community and connect people together.

While we can watch sermons online, listen to podcasts, and but Christian books with the click of a mouse, we are still craving real connections.

So let’s ensure that we look out for others; that we are able to keep an eye on the people close to us and to just check on their mental health. Let’s also watch that we don’t get isolated in our busy, digitally-connected lives. There are too many stories like Sunny Garcia’s in our society. 

Image courtesy Instagram

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