I love the Lenten season. A season of suffering, followed by joy and rediscovery fills my heart with hope–a sometimes absent friend other times of the year. Lent reminds me that life can suck sometimes and despite what our friends on Facebook want us to believe, it’s not full of rainbows and unicorns 24/7. Lent reminds me that Jesus suffered–and yes, I do too, even if on the surface I appear fine trotting through foreign lands alone.
This year, instead of wine, beer or meat, I decided that if Jesus could live without Facebook, I could too. After all, it’s a vice that many of us deem a necessity–what if I miss something rattles on in our brains– tempting us that life will stop, cease to exist if we don’t know what our “friends” are doing every hour?
I’ll admit it, I am curious creature, I like to be in the know, I want to know if my ex-boyfriend is married, has kids or recently divorced–even if it hurts me to know the truth–I call it emotional cutting and Facebook feeds that need. But this year, I wanted to feel, experience a life without Facebook, I wanted to “suffer” in the first-world, 21st-century way, I wanted be reminded that living without Facebook for 40 days was trite, trivial compared to what Jesus did on the cross . And yes, the mere thought of comparing the cross to Facebook could border on sacrilegious gives me pause, however, Facebook without restraint can be a demon that needs exorcising, and so I determined that for 40 days I would exorcise it. Here’s what I learned when I said, “No, Facebook, you’re not part of my life, right now…”
- Sorry, folks, I didn’t miss your daily updates of random thoughts or photos of your kids from their overproduced birthday parties–and in turn, I’m sure you didn’t miss mine either–frankly, you probably haven’t thought of me until I posted this–and that’s okay, I’m not offended.
- Family and friends will call you or text you if something serious happens. My Uncle Doug had heart surgery and like we did back in 2005, my mom called to tell me when he was in the hospital–he did great and is now at home–never once did I need Facebook for an update–family connects through 20th-century ways (e.g. phone and in-real-life) when it matters most!
- Other channels exist where you feel more a part of a tribe–and at the same time connected to the larger world who will let you know if it’s blown up or not. I’ve always preferred Twitter over Facebook, mainly because I don’t follow family and friends and I can be real and random without the baggage of people judging or misinterpreting my 140 character posts–it gives me space to be myself–and I can follow Donald Trump without condemnation that I’m a racist.
- And finally, life goes on…yep, I lived 40 days without Facebook, and life is the same as it was when I was checking in a couple of times a day. Actually, I’d probably say it’s better because I’m living my life, warts and all, in peace without the daily reminders that either I’m underachieving or looking at others, grateful that’s not me, that I dodged a bullet…my life is okay–and whether I like it or not, I’m doing or not doing what I’m supposed to do right now. I move forward, sometimes backwards, sometimes sideways with what I know without the influence, pressure of what would make a good Facebook post or what will others think if I do, x, y or z. I live in the present for the good or bad, I just go with it…and for me, in this moment, that’s a 21st-century, 40-day blessing…