Ooh boy! Grandma is on Facebook®! And she actually updates her status and shares pictures and posts! What has the world come to?! Somehow in the midst of all the conflicts and turmoils, all the political and religious rantings, all the family drama and all of life's disappointments, we all agree on one thing....that we like the world to know what's going on in our lives...especially when things are going really well! Facebook® is proof that humans cannot live in isolation..we need each other. I personally spend several hours daily scrolling through and checking up on friends, loved ones and folks that I frankly never thought I would encounter again. Quite a bit of my energy goes into admiring pictures, occasionally even commenting and just reading up on other folks' world. It's the voyeur in all of us....even when folks post wayyy too much information we still feel quite inclined to be a part of it...afterall if you're putting it out there, I might as well share it.
I also believe that a part of Facebook®success is because it is only a representation of our lives...and most of the time, it is the good part of our lives. Have you ever "reunited" with a long lost friend only to find that they are doing better than you? In fact according to their Facebook® page, they are doing much much better than you! Many of us use Facebook® like telephones were intended. and instead of just calling our closest friend to tell them the news, we call a 1000 friends. Ok really...do we really know a 1000 people or are we just collecting potential status updates? I am always amazed about how much turmoil there is in the world...but yet per Facebook® everything is just peachy. Sure you'll occasionally have a rant or two or a post that gets folks riled up, but for the most part we only share the really great parts of our world.
The result? Quite a number of us walk around feeling highly insecure about our own problems. What would they say if they found out that my life is not as peachy as theirs? Would they think less of me? I must be doing something wrong if I can't do like they are doing! Another group of us are resentful. Everyone else seems to have a fabulous life except me! I have encountered many people who really believe that folks around them do not have any problems...or at least not serious problems like they do. It is easy to look at our shortcomings and be hard on ourselves, blame someone else because we don't measure up to someone's facebook life.
The truth though is that we all have problems. Everyone including the happiest person on this earth has a story and many chapters in our book of life end tragically, or sadly or in anger. It is not always a walk in the park despite what our Facebook® status says.
I've had the privilege of having deep conversations with folks from different walks of life and it's always the same story...something impactful has happened in their lives, and this thing still influences their lives..5, 10, 20 or even 50 years after it happened. I've had many conversations with my adopted grandmother and she recounts stories of her childhood like it happened yesterday. She recalls the pain she experienced and how it influenced her life...even till today at age 80. No matter how great it looks on paper or on the internet, we all have a sad story to tell.
So, I try to open up and tell others about my hurts and my pain and also about my triumphs. We all need hope in our lives. I pray my story will have an impact on theirs...make them see that life is a great struggle for all of us. And after I scroll through all the news of new babies, new spouses, new jobs, new friends and amazing lives, I go back to my world, my truth and my reality, remembering that those posts are only an itsy bit of those folks' lives. There's more of them to be discovered outside of their Facebook® lives.