Disconnecting

I won’t describe here the thing that pushed me over the edge, it’s too foul. But truthfully, there have been a number of these things that have been pushing me to disconnect from Facebook. It’s not just Facebook, mind you, it’s a lot of social discourse and what passes for news. The online world is awash with the banal, the voyeuristic, the crude, the cruel, sadistic and mean ways we treat each other. But I find it particularly offensive that these things should invade a space for my “Friends” and I to gather and share our family photos, memories, some of our troubles…it’s a great way to keep in touch.  Until it isn’t. Suddenly it seems to have taken a slide into the pit.  The political discourse has been foul.  It has gone from the equivalent of driving through a neighborhood with candidate signs on nearly every lawn to those signs being manned by their owners who shout at me with bullhorns and then try to shout down their neighbors.

Some people I know post stuff that is decidedly disgusting. The posts that bother me the most are the ones that mock or dehumanize others.

Then there are the nice posts, the ones with articles I click on and surrounding the article is click-bait, articles with titles designed to titillate, to drive traffic through morbid or purulent curiosity.  The photos that accompany these ads are sometimes vile, often gross, and the articles themselves are often poorly written, or are simply not worth being written. So Facebook has become an opening into an online world that nauseates me.

In addition to that, I’ve become aware that I was looking at Facebook far too often. Every down moment I was checking to see what’s new.

Worse (and to my shame), I was checking to see, did you “like” my post? Did you comment? Facebook has been revealing me to be a needy child and I’m disgusted by this desire for attention (and yet here I am blogging about it to my two faithful readers.)

Plus, sometimes, I just get annoyed reading about yet another vacation or another great success, yet another Pinterest-worthy party.  I’m not proud of that.  I’ve worked hard over the years to be genuinely happy for people who are more fortunate.  For the most part, I’ve succeeded. But other people’s successes are hard to swallow when they are accompanied by the smugness of those who feel they deserve it, and, to be honest, accompanied by my own pride and bitterness. How it smarts when someone believes that all their success, all their good health, all their good fortune is the result of their own worth, their own value, their own efforts. The implication is there that any failure on your part is because you are unworthy, because you are worth less, and that you don’t work hard enough or aren’t smart enough. Sometimes people DO work harder, sometimes they ARE smarter or have made better choices. And sometimes I need to accept that Fibromyalgia has given me a different life than I thought I would have. It has robbed me of the ability to work as hard as I once could.

Truthfully, isn’t some of my bitterness (or all of it) that I have not truly, totally, completely surrendered to God? As I pray that His will be done, am I not instructing Him what I want His will to be? Am I not angry that His will has veered from my own and at times has allowed such pain into my life? “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary said. “Let it be it unto me according to your word.” Those should be the words emblazoned on my heart, but. but, but…I find it scary.  I want to be brave and to trust, to have perfect submission…

Lord have mercy.

So, anyway, I’m off Facebook. For a while at least, my plan is for a month. And then I need to clean house.  I need to limit the scope of the people I hear from, and to find a way to limit the amount of advertising and click bait. AdBlock doesn’t have an app worked out for Microsoft Edge which my new laptop came with (thanks, Microsoft, you know for putting in software that increases the amount of advertising I see.) We’ll see if the benefits of Facebook will win me back. I can’t say yet.  I’m in withdrawal.

A Disturbance in the Force

Offense seems to be a word bandied about so easily these days.  We are a people offended by trifles, yet un-offended by truly offensive things.  I am still disturbed and disquieted, years later, by a worship service, a communion service, actually, which opened with a live band rocking out “Mustang Sally”.  Almost as much as it disturbed me to have that played at a worship service, what I find disquieting is that I went along with it, even enjoyed it. It was an enjoyment that left me with a perpetual heartache, however.

 

The band was great.  I mean, they were really great, and their performance of “Mustang Sally” was really good. But what remains of that evening is the disturbance in my soul; disturbance that this was considered an acceptable way to begin a service of the church! A communion service! Yet I went along with it. I hushed my conscience, I muffled my disquieted spirit. What I did not do is shut them up. I added to the disturbance within me by my acceptance, by my willingness to go along.

I’m still disturbed. Seven years have passed but my distress has not eased.

russia – images from one of my favorite photographers, Sergei Gapon

SERGEI GAPON/AFP/Getty Images

Kolyada celebration 110 km outside of Minsk.

 

SERGEI GAPON/AFP/Getty Images

Men line up to take an icy dip on Epiphany.

 

Elderly woman takes part in Eastern Orthodox service.