I took a walk, a long walk in the later afternoon this autumn, right when the leaves were just starting to show their true colors; all the summer’s sunlight getting ready to burst from their veins. I prayed, I prayed the rosary reciting the words that come from my mouth with ease and in rhythm to my steps, praying for this and praying for that. Mostly the same old stuff; keep my kids safe, holy, and inspire them, for my husband to remain steadfast, to have courage, to lead and not lose hope, to be who I am supposed to be and for a farm. As I returned home to sweet new friends, friends who were traveling with their four children scoping out the western landscape for a forever home, land to live on in harmony with others, surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation, worshipping the creator, I just felt this urge to quit. To quit the information overload and to reconnect with what matters.
My footsteps took on a quicker pace and I became so determined. I neared the house and watched the laundry as it billowed to the west and to the east moved by an unseasonably warm September breeze. The clothes being dried without a man’s creation reinspired me to just do it- tune out. Yet, within hours I was weak, I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t flip the Facebook off button. ( where is that option anyway ?)
I deleted it from my phone and decided to limit my use. That worked yet I still had this gnawing in me to just cut the ties to be totally dramatic and say, “enough is enough”. I suppose I have a bit of counter cultural, revolutionary, nonconformist thing going on in me, always have. “Too cool for Facebook?” , nah I think Facebook is too cool for me.
It had come to serve many purposes; marketing, advertising, event inviting, birthday inviting, baby announcing, baby congratulating, local, national and global news updating. An overdose of information, opinions too much for anyone, but it isn’t just that constant toxic feed, or is it? I can’t even say what “it” is except that the time to do it was today. I have so loved seeing old friends, reconnecting with many, but I have noticed I am not all that connected, for real, at all. My dearest friends and family, the ones whose numbers and addresses I know ( most by heart) I feel “connected” to without even saying any real words to them. I feel as though we have talked because I know what is going on in their lives. You know, seeing friends and all their activities makes you feel like you know how they are and it’s like you feel as if you have communicated with them when you definitely haven’t. Even though I know that The Wicked Good Farm was growing some awesome produce I hadn’t stopped by to get my hands dirty, to chew on a rip of kale as we caught up, ( like days past). I realized, for example, that my friend of 37 years who lives 10 miles away and I hadn’t actually exchanged words, real words, on the phone, in a letter or face to face in months. Is it FB’s fault? No, it’s mine and my fake sense of communication.
I have been encouraged in many ways by posts, ones that make me laugh or totally entertain me exemplifying our humanity, resilience and amazing talent: many articles shared have gave me hope that there are families like mine, moms like me, women like me but then again I became lonely in my head.
As the profiles turned to the colors of the rainbow, popping up throughout the day at rapid speed I realized I am not really standing but shying away, afraid to be the me that I am. I saw how different I was, I am. I don’t need to know the vast differences in our opinions, I would like just to be a friend.
As our Pope arrived and a breath of change lit the hearts of stagnant souls I remained, still, different. He speaks truth, but was it loud enough to really be heard? It seemed like FB was full of mass confusion trying to fit him into their agenda, their opinion, their beliefs, their desires to be made to feel right and good and validated. When actually Christianity is hard, a struggle, and it does have a box, one that is full of The Way. And the way carried a cross, a heavy burden.
Daily there is a constant barrage of thoughts, images, recipes, food, treats, tricks, tips, bragging, bragging disguised as mentioning, songs, skits, sweet photos of the “easy” life, photos of everyone’s cool life, stories of tragedy, ridiculous insanity, and for me too much information, and with my brain that can’t stop ticking I was constantly refraining from from speaking my mind and losing my “friends” or getting up that moment, literally, feeling the need to jump from my seat, and start whipping up some sliced, apple, rose twisted pastry.
I am not going to vote for Bernie, I don’t care if we are both Vermonters. I am not a fan of The View, I like Glenn Beck, I read some totally far out blogs that I would never share on FB, I am not a woman for choice, for contraception or for liberation to the point of ironic slavery, bondage and abuse. I think our government has lost it’s identity, I don’t want fake lashes, a dress I can wrap 20 ways, I am sorry you are sick, I am sorry you are sad, I am sorry your relationship is on the skits, I am sorry the world is utterly imbalanced. I can’t bother with being bothered as I scroll, wasting time, wasting time, wasting time, being bothered, in between smaller bouts of, “oh, I should email her”, “oh that’s cool”, that’s neat”, “interesting….” and “I will read that later…” (not). So much of me wanting; wanting to make my own music video (ha, like ever but you know the selfie recording in the car with the creative back up singers), write a book, take more photos, hike a mountain, scrub my kids up and take their picture so I can get them to kind of look like yours and not the rag-a-muffins that they are.
What do I want to do? I find myself wondering than reading what the rest of the world is doing while I sit and don’t do. I remind myself, “be, do, produce” and then look at the clock that has ticked into the next hour, time stolen, my creative ideas zapped by the random confusion that FB for me has proved to be.
Today my oldest daughter has been in Peru for two full days, no text, no FB, no snapchat, no email, no phone. Do you know what you do when you can’t instantly or within minutes or hours send a message or make a call to the ones you love the most? The only thing left to do is sit down with a pen and paper and quietly spill out what you have savored all day to say to them knowing they won’t read it for a week when the news you shared in this day and age seems like old news.
What is left to instantly communicate is prayer. Today the same sun that hit her face in the slums of Peru touched mine as I sat alone where she once was. The same moon and stars are above her, moving throughout the night, prayer is powerful and instant. For a God that created us to love, communicate, share, and create must be the best, the most capable, and willing to send instant messages in the wind, in faint sweet smells, through animals, birds and creatures of all kinds. But you must feel it and see it to know it, you actually have to be outside or bring the outside in to feel those prayers on the wind. To be with nature, not to look at nature, to know it, not to know of it, is to hear God. Facebook is too noisy for me.
Even in all the good; the champions, those ringing the alarm, the warriors, the fundraising, the pure exchanges, the thank you’s, the congratulations, the compliments and the love, it is still to loud for me.
Today the urge was strong enough to just go ahead and do it, in all honesty I briefly looked for the OFF, DELETE button and couldn’t find it (what the hey?). I thought it best to say goodbye, yes in a post, because, well, it has been fun just like bar hopping was once fun. The response was varied from those who have thought of the same, curiosity and wonder if there was, you know, one of those FB moments when the drama overrules. So here it is, no defining moment, just a lot of moments, no big deal just time to deal- with what is in front of me.
Here at my feet, close to my heart; my children, my home, our faith, our mission, our talents, treasures, and time to be respected and nurtured. The learning, exploring, the seeing, knowing and discovering. My piano, our guitars, the flute, the blank pages, my voice – to be shared.
This desire to keep life simple, to be simple, to purge, it’s something I have always done and continue to do but I am going deeper today, purging Facebook, hauling it out of my life with the give away box (shoved behind the front door loaded with a disarray of randoms) and the constant recyclables. I wonder, is all that content I shared, posted, commented on there usable, valuable, recyclable, memorable, note worthy? I wonder, and then I write.
(photo credit Uncle Ed, check his awesome eye out on instagram @EdColeman)