3:43 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon; outside a storm is rolling past. Just some thirty minutes ago, thunder rolled so loudly that our little office in the basement seemed to shake. I went upstairs to listen and hear if anyone’s nap was disturbed, but there was no noise to tell that the three children were not still sleeping. Outside there was no rain, and while overcast, the sky was not nearly as dark as I would have expected from such a great noise, though a glance at the radar showed a menacing cell looming just to the north of us. If not for that one great rumble, it would have passed undetected by our quiet little afternoon.
You may be here to see what there is to make up for my soon-to-be-marked absence from Facebook. I’m sorry to say there is not too much, yet, though am highly idealistic that this space will not disappoint for too long. I am not promising anything Earth-shattering, nor too novel–just attempting, really, to be more intentional about what is shared, and how it’s done.
I’ve gotten a few messages after my announcement that I would be leaving Facebook. Some have been encouraging, others disappointed, others curious. “Why?” is, of course, a main question. It’s a hard one to answer without rambling for hours. Years of misgivings and yearnings can’t really be summed up in a few neat sentences, but I will try: For all its good (and I do think it is good) Facebook has become for me a means of stifling my creativity, of distracting me from important things around me, of sucking the joy of relationships from “real life”, of forgetting how to be gracious with people. Not to mention that, after nine years with it, my attention span has been whittled down to basically nothing. If I had the self-discipline to limit it, I’m sure most of these things wouldn’t be a problem. But, I don’t, and I’m tired of wrestling with it.
Speaking on a purely creative level, the ease and swiftness of sharing on Facebook has cut me off at the knees. I can’t count the number of times I stopped writing something or deleted a blog post because, compared to a Facebook post, it felt wordy and superfluous, and that no one would read it because of that. Or the times I’ve decided that something I’ve shared was worthless because it didn’t garner the amount of feedback in the length of time I thought it would. Or, again, the times where I thought I would expound upon a thought, but decided that a short and sweet picture on Facebook would be easier. Over the course of nine years, I’ve forgotten how to write, how to finish a thought, how to even communicate without an emoji.
A few days ago, I literally fell on my knees in my sitting room, burying my face on the sofa and crying out to God, appealing to Him as the Master Creator, to help me in my fractured, frustrated creativity, in my ideas that never reach fruition, in my energy that is spent before I’ve even started, in my thoughts that leap everywhere but the path I need them to follow.
The next morning I talked with Jeremy about my frustrations with social media and what I feel like it’s doing to my life. He suggested I cut it out. I worried about staying in touch with people. He gently reminded me that there are many other ways to be in touch with people. I worried about sharing about our family. He gently reminded me that that is what the blog is for.
He was right, and I started mentally preparing myself for the transition out of what has been a way of life for the past nine years. It will not be easy. I don’t know people’s phone numbers, their addresses. I haven’t sent a real birthday card in years.
In short, Facebook has been a means of artificiality for years. I am ready for something a little more real, for my sake, and for the sake of the little people who look to me for their example.
Tonight we’re taking the boys to a Sacred Harp meeting for the first time (well, Ephraim went to one when he was at 20 weeks gestation; I doubt he remembers it.) It’s been nearly five years for me, since I’ve been to one. They’re familiar with the music because I do listen to it at home every now and then.
I have literally been waiting years for this–to be able to go to a singing with the boys. These meetings are, to me, the antithesis of something like Facebook. They’re rich in history, in tradition; they’re face-to-face with living, breathing people, singing songs that have been sung for generations of believers. They remind me that there is something that transcends what is trending. They can’t be shared in an instagram post (though I will probably try.) I have never seen a photo or video that captures completely what it’s like to sit in that square, with people not singing for an audience, not leaving anyone out, not separating the musical Can and Can-nots, singing our beliefs and our tradition.
I’m not planning on singing, not taking pictures, though hopefully I’ll have something to share on the experience soon.