My life after I (mostly, kinda, maybe temporarily) gave up Facebook

Dear Facebook friends,

I am sorry if I alarmed any of you with the status I posted on Monday, May 20th, about “shutting off social media before it shuts me down utterly.” In retrospect, that was pretty dramatic sounding. I guess I was feeling pretty dramatic at the time.

It can just be hard sometimes, living in a rich and powerful nation, when the richest and most powerful people keep making incredibly selfish decisions. It can be hard to vacillate between feeling like a rich and powerful person who is also being selfish and thoughtless, and feeling like a person who has been working for justice and trying to move the rich and the powerful in one way or another for decades to no avail – a powerless person with delusions of power. And my Facebook and Twitter feeds had become a constant flow of “CHECK OUT HOW MUCH THIS STINKS!” “AND THIS TOO!” “AND ALSO THIS!!!!”

Not the best time to be reading Amos chapter 2: “People of Israel – you are thoughtless, selfish, unjust covenant breakers! Don’t think you don’t have it coming!!”

Oh! Had I not mentioned that it is pretty much my job at the moment to be reading Amos and writing about it? *sigh*

I am just compulsive enough to need to read my entire feed. Everything I missed. And friends, you read such interesting things, and share them! So when I would sit down at the kitchen table to work, I would first check my e-mail, and see that someone had commented on something or tagged me on Facebook, and I would click over to see what was going on, and next thing you know I would have spent two hours reading one article after another about how racism is as bad as ever, sexism is as bad as ever, Congress is more selfish than usual, and more than half our family income taxes are going to kill various mostly non-terrorist people overseas… but wait – let’s all stop talking about all of that awfulness as we all try to process the new awfulness of someone (or some storm) having killed a bunch of children all at once. Here, look at some kittens.

And having “reached the end of the internets,” I would look up from my screen and see that it was lunchtime, and I would eat because it was the right thing to do, but I didn’t really feel hungry anymore. And then I would re-read Amos chapter 2, and stare at the blank screen for about 30 minutes. Again, le sigh.

So it is true that right up through the moment that I wrote that dramatic status that my mental state was… concern worthy. But if you have been at all concerned, rest assured that everything is ok now. Well, probably not everything – I wouldn’t know since I am no longer reading all of those articles about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket. I am sure the world is still FUBAR in all sorts of ways, and so it is unfair to just stop reading about it and then assert that everything is ok.

Please allow me to rephrase: since (mostly, kinda, maybe temporarily) giving up Facebook, I am ok now. Actually, I am better than ok. I have totally disassembled my KitchenAid mixer and repaired the switch. (The part only cost $10, including shipping!) I have taken my daughter swimming, and bike riding, and made cookies with her. I have not once checked my feeds or even my e-mail on my phone while half-attentively interacting with her. I have done lots and lots of laundry, even folding it fresh out of the dryer! I have mostly overcome my fear of chickens. I wrote long e-mails to friends that I might otherwise have only communicated with via broadcast status updates.

I prayed. I prayed and prayed for so many people that I hadn’t had the time or energy to pray for when their problems were collected in with literally hundreds of millions of other people with also big problems. I prayed that God would call other people to pray for the hundreds of millions of people that I missed, and would inspire me to pray the prayers I most needed to pray.

I scrubbed my shower. And my bathroom counter. And as I was scrubbing the counter, I had an insight about Amos. But it wasn’t ready yet. So I read a book, and I talked with my husband, and I didn’t check Facebook first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. I called my mother and my sister in the same day. I listened to one news story on the radio, and then turned it off to think about it instead of listening to the next one, too. I cleaned 1500 messages out of my inbox. And then I knew what I wanted to write, and I wrote and wrote until time to pick up my daughter from school, and get ready for the chickens who are living in our garage over the weekend. Chickens. I can’t believe it.

Now it is my intention to pop on over to Facebook and post this and set the hearts of all of you, my loving friends and family, at ease.  Pray for me, that I make it in and out of the Kingdom of Zuckerberg before finding something so interesting that I get stuck catching up on my feed.  It is late, and I do not have the six hours that it would take to make headway on the backlog of your interesting thoughts and beautiful photographs and very important articles. Ugh. That sounded condescending and awful. I hope that you all understand that I meant all of that completely un-ironically.  I love you guys and all your posts, or I would have hidden you from my feed, easy peasey.  You’re just so darn thought-provoking!  And funny!  And your kids are growing like weeds and doing interesting stuff, and I haven’t even met them in person yet!!!

OK, I almost talked myself into getting back in there.  But here’s the thing:  I have challah french toast to make in the morning, and then I go to the Farmer’s Market, and then we are letting a bunch of chickens and children loose in the back yard.  After lunch, I am hoping to put my mixer back together.  I have dozens of cookies to bake, a house to clean, and a Sunday school lesson on the 2nd chapter of Amos to finish writing before I can move on to writing the next 3 Amos lessons after that.  And I would like to get around to calling my mother again.  So… I think I am going to stay away a bit longer – at least until I can figure out how to manage my “complete feed-reading” compulsion.  I hope you guys understand.

Grace and Peace, Sarah

4 responses

  1. I can relate, Sarah. But in defense of the practice or habit you just described, I think that it is difficult to turn the writing switch on without doing some reading first. In other words, to be inspired to write one must read good writing. The problem with getting your inspiration by following the facebook trail for two hours is that there isn’t much good writing on the internet. I recommend taking your daughter to the library and picking out a great book for yourself! I too have, when faced with the need to produce something, often turned to other outlets, especially ones where you can immediately see the results of your labor! (Scrubbing the shower, repairing the mixer, cleaning out the refrigerator, refinishing a cabinet, installing a pet door, etc. etc. etc.) Seeing the results of the work of thinking and writing is not as immediately satisfying. But today you have visible results to look at! So take a day to glory in the clear evidence of your work! http://www.gbod.org/lead-your-church/jesus-how-i-trust-him?orderby=resource_display_date&sort=asc

    • Yes! I have been reading Ray Bradbury short stories this week, as well as James Kugel’s How to Read the Bible – reading certainly is essential to writing!
      What wonderful news about the sermon series being posted! Many thanks!

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