So this summer I’ve been more quiet on social media. Less prone to speak here, on my blog. I’ve taken a break without really choosing too. As a result, I missed daughter’s day. Oh and a ton of other “days” on social media.
Here’s the reality, I’ve been present in face to face communication, I’ve talked live and in person to my daughters, my grandchildren, my husband, my directees, my best friend, and even our sweet dog. I think that’s what is truly important to me. Being present with those we love is far more important than saying what we feel, believe or trust on any media platform. When we physically put our bodies in the mix, physically are present to someone else, we are embodying the Holy One. We are shouting, “you matter, you are worthy of my time, you are loved!’
We can post all we want and social media will still be just that, media. The definition of media is: the main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the Internet) regarded collectively. Let that sink in. Mass communication, not personal, not relational, not individual communication but “mass.” I don’t know about you but I rarely post the bad messing parts of my life. I post the fun, uplifting silly things. The things I don’t mind sharing with the “masses.” That’s not very relational, risky or authentic.
Relationships happen in the smaller venues of life, in the living room, the kitchen, in coffee shops and stores, at parties and gatherings, at births, weddings, funerals and every personal interaction in between. Social relationships and connection are grounded in the tears shed with a friend over a loss, in the words spoken together in small groups, in the deep conversations about vocation held at a recent retreat, in the words brought up by a dark night of the soul, in questioning our faith, our very lives. These connections occur in groups, in couples, on porches and at parties celebrating life. Deep connection takes time, face to face time spent with others being real, honest and authentic.
Brené Brown says “We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” Suffering not joy comes out of the lack of connection with others. I would add loneliness often is a by product of this lack of connection. We become self focused, lost in our small world where negative self talk runs rampant rather than outward focused toward community, shared experience and positive interaction. Yes, I am an introvert too, what I’m talking about has more to do with interpersonal relationship, than how we get our energy restored.
A challenge has come out of this unknown hiatus from social media. I am challenging myself and you to put down the phone, the Kindle, the iPad, the remote. Go spend time face to face with people you love, people you disagree with, even total strangers. The rewards will be bigger than any “Day” posting social media has to offer. Your time is the real gift to another human.
Oh and for the record: I have two amazing daughters. Vanessa by marriage and Tegan by birth. They are 2 of the finest women I have ever had the pleasure to do life with. We are messy, loving, complicated and very loved by each other.
Of note: None of this is meant to shame anyone into or out of the social media arena. It is simply meant to start a conversation about being present with others. Being present in our grief, our joys, our messiness, our yelling, and yes our laughter too. As always, take from my writing what is good, what resonates for you and leave the rest behind.